FAYETTEVILLE (WTVD) -- Many children dream of bicycles for Christmas, but during times of economic uncertainty cash-strapped parents have few options.
That's why they appreciate the annual opportunity provided by Ann Mathis in Fayetteville. She's the widow of Moses Mathis, also known as the Bicycle Man, who started collecting donated bikes and giving them away 25 years ago.
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"They can get on it, they can go," said Lisa Devlin, parent of a grateful daughter.
They're among the hundreds of people who patiently waited in the cold for a chance to take home a bike Saturday morning.
"It's freedom, they can be like the other kids in the neighborhood," Devlin told ABC11. "It's absolutely incredible!"
Little Jelisa Smith wore a big smile while showing off her bike.
Jelisa got to choose a bike in her favorite color, which she said matches.
"This may be the only thing that a child gets this year," said Anne Mathis, "this bicycle and what we give here. So I'm just glad that I'm able to help!"
Devlin is thankful as a parent. "My husband and I have donated, several years when we could. This year we couldn't and it comes back to us, so it's fabulous."
That's the spirit of giving coming back around for those who've been generous to others. Ann Mathis thanks everyone who makes the early Christmas possible for hundreds of families.
"And always pay it forward," she said. "Always be willing to help somebody else. Always be willing to give!"
We thank you for your support of another ABC11 Together partnership that makes a difference in our community.
Mathis continues the legacy her husband built before his passing in 2013. Moses "Bicycle Man" Mathis worked more than 7,000 hours in his workshop, giving away more than 30,000 bicycles to needy children each holiday season.
The bikes were given out at 9 a.m. at 1800 Wynfare Drive in Fayetteville.
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PHOTOS: Bicycle Man Project gives dozens free bikes in Fayetteville
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