CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A nonprofit organization is reunited with its truck after it was stolen in Uptown.
Trips for Kids Charlotte is committed to empowering underserved youth with bicycles and transforming their cycling experiences. It gives them access to refurbished bikes, cycling and safety education and bike mechanics.
Executive Director Eric Supil said the agency relies on its only truck to collect and drop bikes off.
“Without that truck, we don’t have anyway to get to the communities that we work with,” he added.
The nonprofit takes in about 3,000 bikes a year and about 60% of those are brought back to life and put back out into the community.
Last month, the truck was stolen while team members were in the middle of picking up a donation. The agency said 13 bikes inside are now gone. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) was able to track the truck down but it had visible damage.
“They ripped off the wrap that was on our truck and to wrap a truck is very expensive,” Supil said. “It was basically tough for us because the truck is how we get around ... how we are able to get out into the community and provide the cycling programs and connect with youth.”
Trips for Kids Charlotte serves children like 13-year-old James Mahar, who got his first set of wheels through its recycled program.
“It was cool, it had the big wheels. It was green and all that. It was really nice,” Mahar said.
He’s spending his afternoons now learning about the mechanics of a bicycle, breaking it down and trying to save parts that can be saved to restore another bike.
“A bike like that you can get it at the Charlotte Re-Cyclery," Mahar said. "You can get it at a discount. It’s already been used and you can use it again because it’s already been loved by another kid.”
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Despite the setback, the nonprofit continues to bring the love of cycling to kids throughout the community.
“To have the truck and to be able to do programming ... and this all happened at the beginning of our season … so to have the truck back is huge,” Supil said.
He was quoted $4000 to rewrap the truck.
Supil added they are just glad to have their truck back so they can continue to serve the community.
If you have a bike around, that may need a new home you can donate it to the agency. Even if the bike is not in the best shape, it can still be used for some of its parts.
You can learn more about donating to Trips for Kids Charlotte by visiting the group's website.