Bicycle Ministries to host fundraiser

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 8, 2006

GATESVILLE – If you’ve ever had a desire to take a trip through time and visit America in the 1800’s you may finally get your opportunity July 4th weekend.

Bicycle Ministries, an organization which every year donates thousands of bicycles to underprivileged children, will be hosting a fundraiser at the Gatesville Community Center to help pay for the repair of thousands of bicycles that will be donated to needy children during the holidays.

The theme of the fundraiser will be 1800’s America and event organizer Jacklyn Phillips is hoping that everyone that attends will dress the part.

Phillips said, &uot;I’d like to see the women in the early American dresses and the men dress accordingly as well. The men back then use to wear the nice bright red suspenders.&uot;

While Phillips, who has managed Bicycle Ministries with her husband Bill for eight years, is hoping for a grand time at the holiday bash and her efforts are not to be taken lightly.

Phillips explained that she started Bicycle Ministries, which has as its slogan &uot;So No Child Will Go Without&uot;, after watching a newscast where

man in Norfolk, Virginia had two bicycles stolen from his garage right before Christmas. Philips started her efforts to collect bicycles and toys for children who lived in economic situations where their families could not always afford to buy their children bicycles.

Said Phillips, &uot;We started out trying to get bikes and toys, but the children were not as interested in toys. Bicycles, on the other hand, seem to appeal to all children no matter what age.&uot;

The fundraiser’s primary goal is to raise money to pay for repairs to the approximate 2,000 bicycles that the Phillips’ will donate during the holiday season. Phillips has received thumbs up from officials at the prison in Gates County to allow prisoners to do the repair work on the bikes that are donated to the Phillips’ from private citizens as well as retail establishments like Wal-Mart.

&uot;The inmates at the prison in Winton use to help us out with the repairs, but now the Gates County inmates will be take over that role,&uot; Phillips stated.

She is hoping to have the same type of relationship with the new prison facility in Bertie County.

&uot;We get calls from charity organizations such as Toys-4-Tots and Angel Trees. Last year we donated several hundred bicycles to the Tidewater region in Virginia,&uot; Phillips continued &uot; Over 100 bikes went to Portsmouth alone.&uot;

Phillips who also manages an animal sanctuary, normally pays for the repairs out of her own pocket. This is the first time that she has attempted to host a fundraiser.

Judging by the sponsors of the event, the local community seems to support her cause as well.

Colony Tire, Hampton Inn, Piggly Wiggly, Lowes and Nixon’s are just a few of the several dozen businesses and organizations that have donated services and goods to be awarded at the fundraiser.

&uot;We are having a raffle to award two gift certificate packages,&uot; Phillips said.

The packages are valued at approximately $1000 apiece; raffle tickets are being sold for $10.

Phillips continued, &uot;Aside from the raffle we will have square dancing, bobbing for apples, a wheelbarrow race, log rolling, even a watermelon eating contest.&uot;

Phillips has also tapped the Gates County fire and police departments to attend and perform vehicle demonstrations.

When asked whether or not she was being overly ambitious in her efforts to raise the funds she needs, Phillips was extremely optimistic.

&uot;I believe that the first year we started this, we received maybe 12 bicycles,&uot; Phillips noted &uot;Someone did a newspaper story on us and after that the bikes have poured in ever since. I’m not worried about the future, we are doing God’s work here and God’s work will always prevail.&uot;

The fundraiser will be held at the Gatesville Community Center on July 4 and will run from 10a.m. until the raffle drawing that will be held at 6 p.m.

For more information contact Jackie Phillips at 252-357-2295.