Bismarck boy’s birthday a gift to others

By Wayne Bryan Originally Published July 7, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated July 5, 2013 at 11:40 a.m.
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PHOTO BY: Rusty Hubbard

Jacob Sampson

— Jacob Sampson is a shy, freckled-faced lad of 10 who had to be coaxed to tell about his idea. Perhaps he thinks it is no big deal, or maybe he has just talked about it too much already.

But once he started talking, he grew excited again about his efforts that have touched the hearts of many others around him.

Jacob, who will be in the fifth grade at Bismarck Middle School this fall, is raising money for bicycles for children who lost their bikes, and perhaps all they possessed, in the tornado that struck Moore, Okla., on May 20, killing 23, including eight children, and destroying an estimated 1,150 homes.

“My birthday was May 29, and I got a bunch of money,” Jacob said, once the story began to come out. “Later, we went to Walmart so my mom could get an oil change on her car. I was looking around, and I saw a bike there, and I got on it.”

That is when an order from his mother sparked an idea for helping others.

“She said, ‘Get off that bike; some other kid will want to buy it,” Jacob said. “That got me to thinking.”

Later Jacob announced his idea. That was when his mother, Dawn Sampson, took up the story.

“Jacob said, ‘I don’t need that much money for vacation,’” Sampson said. “He said, ‘I’ll use some of it to send to Oklahoma for bikes for the kids there who lost theirs in the tornado.’”

Jacob’s mother supported the idea, and word about his idea spread.

“That Saturday, he talked to his grandparents, and they gave him $20,” Sampson said.

His grandfather came up with the name of Jacob’s campaign, More Bikes for Moore.

Jacob said once the idea was mentioned on Facebook, he received other donations.

“He then said he wished he could set up a table at Walmart and raise money there,” Sampson said. “I talked to the store in Arkadelphia, and they said it was OK. One Sunday, we were there and raised enough money for three more bikes.”

Jacob said the bicycles he wants to buy for the children in Oklahoma cost between $50 and $75.

“I want to get some of every size for big and little kids and some scooters,” he said.

Jacob’s fundraising has allowed the Sampsons to purchase seven new bikes, and they have had three used ones donated to the cause. Brianna, Jacob’s younger sister, has helped clean up the old bikes and the scooters they have received, their mother said.

The tornado that hit Moore in May was thought to be more than 1.3 miles wide at its peak, with tops winds

estimated at 210 mph. Reports say entire neighborhoods were flattened by the storm. Two elementary schools were hit hard by the storm, and seven students were killed at one of the schools. More than 140 patients, including at least 70 children,

were treated at hospitals,

according to news reports of the storm’s impact.

Jacob and his family are now making plans to take the bicycles to Moore for distribution.

“At first we thought about calling the Red Cross or The Salvation Army,” Sampson said, “but we have learned that there will be a benefit concert in Moore on July 10, and we would like to arrange to give the bikes out there. It might never happen, but we will see.”

This is not Jacob’s first attempt to help other children. Several years ago, he used his birthday money, and did additional fundraising, to collect crayons and coloring books for patients at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock.

“We were eating at Cracker Barrel one day, and he saw the server taking away the crayons some children had been using at another table,” Sampson said. “Jacob asked what they did with the crayons, and I said, ‘I guess they throw them away,’ since the kids got new crayons. He asked if he could have them so he could give them to kids in the hospital.”

Sampson said they talked to Cracker Barrel about getting the used crayons they took off the tables, and the teachers at Bismarck Elementary School donated their used crayons at the end of the school year. However, Jacob’s fundraising allowed the family to purchase new crayons and coloring books. They have made several deliveries of the items to the children’s hospital since the young boy got his idea.

As for Jacob, he said he has a good bike; it just needs a new seat. For more information about the More Bikes for Moore or to make a contribution, call (501) 620-0866.

Staff writer Wayne Bryan can be reached at (501) 244-4460 or wbryan@arkansasonline.com.

Tri-Lakes Edition Writer Wayne Bryan can be reached at 501-244-4460 or wbryan@arkansasonline.com.

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