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St Jude’s solicits tricycles

GATES – Three wheels or four, it makes no difference to Jacklyn and Bill Phillips.

Over the past 10 years, the Gates County couple has repaired used and unwanted bicycles and sent them to needy children. That effort was sparked by the story of a Virginia man who worked two jobs to buy his children bicycles, only to have them stolen. Phillips decided to start an organization to provide toys and bikes to needy children, but the toy initiative was dropped after Jacklyn realized the bicycles were what the children wanted.

Now it appears the couple’s fame is spreading…minus one wheel. St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee has contacted the Phillips family, asking them to provide tricycles to the “little patients” who have received treatment at their facility and are on their way to recovery.

“You can’t say no when it comes to children of any age,” Mrs. Phillips said. “We will do our very best to fill St. Jude’s request.”

But just as in the Bicycle Ministry, one that has sent more than 1,750 bicycles to children around the world over the past 10 years, the Phillips family knows they will need help.

“People from all over Gates, Bertie and Hertford counties as well as folks up in southside Virginia have been so gracious to us throughout the years in donating new and used bicycles to our ministry,” Mrs. Phillips said. “Now we’re asking for donations of tricycles. We’ll take them in any type of condition…new, used, broken, whatever.”

As they do with broken bicycles, the couple salvages the savable parts and uses them to rebuild the good bikes.

“Whatever you can donate we will put to good use,” Mrs. Phillips concluded.

Those wishing to donate a new or used tricycle can contact the Phillips family at 357-2295.