For nearly three decades, WBT Hall of Fame and North Carolina Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame host, John Hancock, has been the spearhead of an annual giving effort to bring holiday joy to thousands of kids. Referred to at the station simply as “The Bike Drive,” the event has resonated deeply with WBT listeners through the years, resulting in the collection of some 20,000 bikes, as well as gifts, food, clothing and more to be given to tens of thousands of kids.
Even after his retirement in 2019, Hancock’s Bikes for Kids has continued and some 2,000 kids have enjoyed the gift of a new bike at Christmas in the past three years.
On Friday, December 9th, 2022, from 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM WBT partnered with WBTV for this year’s bike drive for the first time in the event’s history. The studios at 1 Julian Price Place, the headquarters shared by both venerable Charlotte stations, served as the location for this year’s event. WBT and WBTV personalities – including the whole WBT air team and WBTV’s Jamie Boll – put out the call to their audiences to help a kid in need have a special Christmas. As they have for almost 30 years, Charlotteans answered that call.
Volunteers from long-time bike drive partner Frito Lay, Charlotte’s Kids First of the Carolinas organization, WBT, and WBTV gathered to receive bikes from donors from throughout the greater Charlotte region. Charlotte Knights’ mascot Homer was on hand as the Knights delivered their traditional 31 bike donation, and Chester Cheetah brought Frito Lay snacks to everyone that donated a bike.
At the close of the four-hour event, which aired live on WBT, 579 bikes had been donated, a total that all involved are very proud of. Those bikes were loaded into two tractor trailer trucks donated by Frito Lay and brought to the Kids First of the Carolinas storefront in the McMullen Creek shopping center at 8318 Pineville Matthews Road where they were unloaded for distribution in the coming weeks.
Throughout the weekend, however, even more bike donations were brought to the Kids First store, as listeners and viewers of WBT and WBTV continued to display their generosity. On Monday morning, Brent and Hailey Sanders of Kids First of the Carolinas were on Good Morning BT with Bo Thompson & Beth Troutman to talk about the experience on Friday night, and to provide an updated donation total.
They told the WBT audience that 800 bikes have been donated through this year’s effort.
“What an energetic night filled with good, positive, uplifting people,” said Hancock following the event. “I truly am humbled by the efforts of so many. Think of the stories we created.”
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