Andy Milner, Joe Haynie and Donald McGill put the finishing touches on one of the last bicycles being built for foster children in Tallapoosa County and seven surrounding counties. | Alison James

Archived Story

Wheels in motion

Published 11:58am Thursday, December 13, 2012

New Site United Methodist Church is setting the wheels in motion on getting bicycles to foster children this Christmas.

Church and community members gathered at the church building Monday to put together 142 bicycles that will be distributed through the Department of Human Resources offices in eight counties. Paul Vick, minister at the UMC, said the church partners with Phillip’s Bicycles for Foster Kids to meet the bicycling needs of local foster children.

“It is geared only to foster care children, and it is only new bicycles and related items,” Vick said.

The nonprofit is in its fifth year, founded in honor of Vick’s younger brother, Phillip Vick, who died in 2006 of a sudden heart attack.

Paul said his brother, who was a foster parent, had made the following request for his funeral: “Don’t send flowers. Too many kids don’t have bicycles,” Paul said.

When Phillip passed away, bicycles and tricycles surrounded the coffin at his wake. It wasn’t long before the family started the nonprofit in his honor to carry on his legacy.

The organization has placed about 2,500 bicycles with children since then using money raised all year long through gospel CD sales and charitable donations, Paul said.

Paul said he once asked his brother why he placed an impact on giving children bicycles.

“There’s just something about a bicycle,” Paul said. “(The child comes) out of a horrible environment – either abuse, or neglect, or drugs or whatever – … into a strange situation with a bunch of strangers. But there’s something about a bicycle, when they get it out of the house … and feel the air around them. It’s just a sense of freedom.”

Paul also prays over the bicycles and anoints them with oil, asking God to bless the child who receives it and provide a way for that child to hear the gospel and come to know Christ.

Paul said the nonprofit gets a hefty discount on the bicycles from Huffy, and they found a moving company that will drive them across the country to deliver them free of charge.

“The big, shiny bicycle is impressive to a child on Christmas morning,” Paul said. “It says ‘Somebody went out of their way to make me feel special.’”

This year New Site UMC and the community helped to provide bicycles to children in Tallapoosa, Clay, Randolph, Chambers, Lee, Macon, Elmore and Autauga counties. Another church in Childersburg helped meet needs in several other counties.

“There’s tremendous need,” Paul said. “We always fret, right up until the last minute, how we’re going to make it happen.”

But Paul said God always helps them find a way to provide.

For more information, call Paul at 256-401-3474 or visit www.vickfamilymusic.com.

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