Annual “RIDE FOR TOYS”

 

On the early morning of August 25th, there was a bit of a chill in the air at the Reynolds Alberta Museum in Wetaskiwin and although the nearby crop of barley was beginning to show signs of ripening, both the leaves and grass were a healthy green. At first glance, the only visible sign of winter was Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, Alan Greene, dressed up as Santa Claus collecting toys and storing them in a Wetaskiwin Transportation van. Later the ‘Santa in August’ was seen riding in a white convertible leading a parade of motorcycle enthusiasts. 
Motorcycles converged on Reynolds Alberta Museum parking lot well before 9:00 a.m. to partake in the famous Wetaskiwin Lions Pancake and Sausage Breakfast and to register and participate in the second annual motorcycle rally in support of the Wetaskiwin Toy Run. The event was advertised as, ‘Ride your motorbike for a cause.  Help keep life fun for kids.  Bring a new unwrapped toy in clear plastic bag or make a cash donation for Secret Santa’.
As motorcyclists were walking up and down the long line-up of bikes and visiting with friends and making new ones,  amidst all the chrome and leather  the real focus of the event was on doing one of the most important things you can do, helping  kids in need.  And especially a kid in need at Christmas time.  The purpose of the toy ride is to gather toys or cash donations for Secret Santa. The registration fee to join the ride is a new unwrapped toy or a cash donation for Secret Santa.  Each of the riders was enthusiastic about making a generous and important contribution of cash or a toy knowing it will be used to provide special memories of Christmas for children in need. 
Once registered and assembled, the bikers revved up their engines and left Wetaskiwin and headed north on Highway 2A for a ride in the country to Millet to join the Millet Harvest Fair parade. They returned to Wetaskiwin to conclude the ride with a BBQ and entertainment. 
Larry Fowell, organizer of the event for the second year in a row was proud of the achievement and stated, “Next year it will be even bigger. We will include the County and Millet in the planning. Toys collected in those regions will be used in those regions.”  He was especially grateful to the generous support of the sponsors. 
Although some prizes and awards were available for the bikers at end of the ride, the real winners are the needy children who will receive a gift or toy this coming Christmas. Thanks to all who made it such a great event. For the non-riders, you are encouraged to participate in the Secret Santa Toy Run by dropping off a toy or monetary donation at FCSS at City Hall. 
For more information contact Sharla Campbell, Volunteer Coordinator, FCSS at  (780) 361-4425     E-mail: scampbell@wetaskiwin.ca 
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