ORLANDO, Fla. — Giving away more than a thousand bicycles was not in Kathy Downs' original plan.
- Kathy Downs has given away about 1,300 bikes to kids
- She collects donated bicycles, then 2 friends refurbish them
- Downs says she considers it an "honor" to give away bikes
"No, it's not what I set out to do," she says.
The avid cyclist collects donated bikes, which has "(given) me the name of the 'Bike Fairy,' " she says. "I've embraced it."
There are about 150 bikes in her storage area right now, but she's given away close to 1,300 in the past year and a half.
It started with just trying to get a bike for one 9-year-old girl.
"So I put something on the Nextdoor app, asking did anyone have a bike for a 9-year-old that I was working with? And I got six," Downs says.
But the donations didn't stop coming.
"Yeah, this is awesome," she says. "I was like, 'Somebody could totally use this.' "
Now, with the help of two friends, each donated bike is made to look almost new again.
To help identify families in need, Downs has partnered with the Legal Aid Society for December's Bike Bonanza.
"The kids in the foster system are abused, abandoned, neglected. They have had tough lives by the time they are 2 years old," Downs says.
So although Downs and her team are already doing great things, her dream is still growing.
"I'd love to find someone in every county in Florida who is a cyclist, bike enthusiast, who can partner with that county's Legal Aid Society and roll it out through the state of Florida," she says.
"I love it. It is an honor," Downs says.