Foundation donating bikes for kids in need

The Foundation for Life Inc., a charitable organization supported by the employees of Shelton-based Barnum Financial Group, an office of MetLife, is donating bicycles and helmets to 60 children during the Boys and Girls Club annual Back-A-Kid campaign event today.

During this event, First Niagara Bank also will be providing the children with vouchers to the Connecticut Sports Center in Shelton.

Barnum Financial Group employees have helped raise the funds for the bikes and helmets. Each organization will surprise the children with their bikes and helmets.

The bikes will not only allow the children to get out into their communities but also provide a fun way to stay physically fit and healthy.

Paul Blanco, managing director of Barnum Financial Group and founder of the Foundation for Life., was introduced to Bikes for Kids by the founders of the program, Bill and Debbie Pollakov.

Boosting the less fortunate

Since 2007, the Foundation for Life. — with the support of the Barnum Financial Group employees — has donated more than 1,500 bikes and helmets to children less fortunate throughout Connecticut, New York and Rhode Island.

The children are typically invited to a free day of family fun where they are then given the additional surprise of a bike to take home. This year alone there have been events at a Rockland (N.Y.) Boulders baseball game; a Jets football game; an afternoon in the Giants field house; and a baseball game with the Pawtucket (R.I.)  Red Sox.

Many of these children may not have ever attended a baseball game or owned a bike; which is what makes this program so special, organizers said.

Making a difference

“At Barnum Financial Group, we are committed to making a difference in the communities we serve,” Blanco said. “My wife Mindee and I started the Foundation for Life as an avenue through which we and our employees could improve the lives of children and families.”

Barnum Financial Group, an Office of MetLife, provides a full range of investment and risk management products and services to more than 220,000 clients, including individuals and their families as well as small businesses, corporations, government entities, not-for-profit organizations and their employees.

Offices are located in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island. For more information visit or