'Bicycle Man' sets record for giveaway
Posted December 22, 2009 6:54 a.m. EST
Updated December 22, 2009 7:10 p.m. EST
Fayetteville, N.C. — Moses Mathis gave away a record number of bikes this year.
Mathis, more commonly known as the "Bicycle Man," has been repairing used bicycles and giving them to children from low-income families for 17 years.
He said he and his volunteers spends eight hours a day for 10 months in his workshop on Black & Decker Road for "the smiles, the hugs, the kisses, the thank-yous" he gets one day each December.
"We work all year long, just for this day," Mathis said. "This is the day that I get my reward."
This year, more than 1,100 bikes were be donated, repaired and put on display for eager children, each of whom had gotten a voucher for a bike after applying through their schools or the Department of Social Services. He also gave away 100 computers.
In 2008, he gave away 1,046 bicycles.
"I like that it's cool and it has handles and that it has pretty little strings," Julia Bouknight said about her bike.
Mathis said the number of children requesting bicycles this year was up by 25 percent.
"It's kind of rough out there. The parents are losing their homes. The economics are bad, so it's just bad all the way around," Mathis said.
In 2010, Matthis' charity work will face a new challenge: By the end of January, he will have to leave his current warehouse space. Matthis said he might have to cancel the 2010 giveaway to focus on raising money for permanent space. During the past decade, he has moved three times.
Mathis accepts donations of bikes and cash to fund his venture through his Web site www.thebicycleman.com. To arrange to drop off a bike, call 910-424-3083.