FAYETTEVILLE: Bicycle giveaway carries on without founder - WNCN: News, Weather

Happy Holidays

Bicycle giveaway in Fayetteville carries on without founder

Posted: Updated:
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. -

On Saturday, approximately 1,000 children in the Sandhills got what will likely be the highlight of their Christmas this year. Thanks to the BicycleMan organization they walked out of warehouse near Hope Mills with a bicycle and a smile.

"I liked the bikes," said 10-year-old Neo Underwood. "There were just so many of them. I just wanted to choose all of them."

Neo did decide on just one though, just like all the other children who got to look through the rows of bikes on their own. Each child had help from a volunteer, but parents had to wait outside.

"To them, [a bike is] important," explained mother Lashawna Francis. "They see all their friends with it. They say ‘Mommy, I want a bike. I want a bike.' Well today they got a bike, and they're happy.

"Not a lot of people would open up their heart to do stuff like that. I think it's really nice. They're going to get their blessings for that one."

While the giveaway Saturday was very much like others in recent years, it was the first without the Bicycle Man himself Moses Mathis. He died at age 76 in July.

He started the charity by fixing up used bikes and giving them away more than 20 years ago. Over the years donations grew. People donated both used and new bikes to be given away to need children whose families likely could not afford a bike very easily. Any used bikes that needed work have been fixed and put in rows with the new bikes at the BicycleMan warehouse.

Shortly before Mathis's death, his wife Ann promised to continue the organizations work. She had always been by his side along the way, and she wanted to be sure their efforts did not end.

"I'm happy that I could do this. I promised him that I would do this, and I'm going to do this," Mrs. Mathis said, referring to plans to keep the charity going for years to come. "I think I surprised myself it came together so well."

When Moses Mathis founded the giveaway more than 20 years ago, his only goal was to put a smile on a child's face. With every child who came through the door Saturday you could see that success continues.

"Just to see all the children that were there, that were in there with the smiles on their faces coming out the door, it was awesome," said Neo's mother Rachel Underwood.

Volunteer Gary Sidberry said you could feel the spirit of giving. He helped several children navigate the rows of bicycles to pick out the one the liked best.

"They're just running all over the place trying to find one special bike, and then when they get that bike they're just like, ‘Oh my God. This is my bike. This is my bike.' So it's amazing to see the smiles on their faces and then they run on out the door," Sidberry said.

Amongst all the activity of children and volunteers and parents, Ann Mathis admitted it was still hard to carry on without her husband of more than 40 years. She acknowledged the tireless work of supporters including the organization's board of directors and other donors, but she also kept her late husband at the top of her mind.

"I guess I shouldn't be [surprised], but I didn't know how many people appreciated Moses until now the support has been so great," Mrs. Mathis said. "I wish he was here, this was his thing to see the smiles on those kids' faces out there, that was Moses. I know he was here with me in spirit."

It is that spirit that Mrs. Mathis says guides the giveaway as it continues. Saturday proved she not only kept her promise to keep it going, but that there is support to keep it growing too.

Brandon Herring

Brandon is a North Carolina native and UNC alum who lives in Fayetteville, and covers Cumberland County and the Sandhills. Returning to North Carolina to work as a journalist is a dream come true for Brandon. More>>

  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • 77-year-old questioned, defended as true Marine after NFL player takes his photo

    77-year-old questioned, defended as true Marine after NFL player takes his photo

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 1:58 PM EDT2014-07-22 17:58:35 GMT
    (WMC) - It was a story that made its rounds on social media. On a recent flight DeAngelo Williams, Mid-Southerner and running back for the Carolina Panthers, gave his first-class plane seat to a 77-year-old
    Family members are upset and hurt that their relative, James Wesley Bolden, is being called a liar and "a fake."
  • Largest companies by revenue in each state

    Largest companies by revenue in each state

    Thursday, July 10 2014 8:01 PM EDT2014-07-11 00:01:10 GMT
    Broadview Networks recently decided to find out the biggest -- by revenue -- company in each state in the US.The company used the Fortune 500 list to start with, but needed data by state, so it turned to Hoover's.With data from that company, they were able to search through each state's list of companies and then find the largest -- by revenue.Just flip through the list above and see who is the biggest in each state, what town they are based and their revenue.
    Broadview Networks recently decided to find out the biggest -- by revenue -- company in each state in the US.The company used the Fortune 500 list to start with, but needed data by state, so it turned to Hoover's.With data from that company, they were able to search through each state's list of companies and then find the largest -- by revenue.Just flip through the list above and see who is the biggest in each state, what town they are based and their revenue.
  • UNC professor robbed, beaten to death in Chapel Hill

    UNC professor robbed, beaten to death in Chapel Hill

    Thursday, July 24 2014 2:38 PM EDT2014-07-24 18:38:46 GMT
    A UNC research professor was robbed and beaten to death Wednesday afternoon on University Drive in Chapel Hill, police said.
    A UNC research professor was robbed and beaten to death Wednesday afternoon on University Drive in Chapel Hill, police said.
Powered by WorldNow

1205 Front St., Raleigh
N.C., 27609

Telephone: 919.836.1717
Fax: 919.836.1687
Email: newstips@wncn.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.