LIMA — Motorcycle riders from around the region came out to the Allen County Fairgrounds Sunday for the annual ABATE Toy Run.
The organization — American Bikers Aimed Toward Education — has been holding this event for 34 years.
The cost for riders is $15 each or $10 if they bring a new toy.
Last year, 120 Allen County families were helped.
“The parents around Christmastime, they’re doing all they can to get the money around for their rent and their food and their bills. At the end of the month they don’t have any money, so that’s where we step in and try to help them out with getting Christmas for them,” said Dana Frost, director of ABATE of Ohio Region 3.
Around $22,000 is raised each year.
The bikers left the Allen County Fairgrounds at noon Sunday, went through Lima then to Delphos, south to Spencerville and then back to the fairgrounds.
Festivities at the fairgrounds included a live band and silent and live auctions.
Every year a big plush teddy bear is auctioned off and the winner gets to ride with it the next year.
“United States Patriots Motorcycle Club and the Wetzel Motorcycle Club bought this together and we’ve done that for the last three years. We always tried to outbid each other before that and we decided it was more money going towards the kids, pooling our money than fighting each other so that’s what we’re doing now,” said Patriots Club member Bob Wright.
Last year they bid $1,700 for the privilege of owning the teddy bear for the day.
“It’s not for us. It’s not for Wetzel. It’s not for United States Patriots. It’s not for anybody here riding. It’s for the kids this Christmas because they don’t have what we got. We’re just fortunate enough to be here, so that’s what we’re doing,” said Wright.
Elaine Davis is treasurer of ABATE Region 3 and she’s been a part of the toy run for close to 30 years.
“You pay it forward. There are so many families (that need help). Unfortunately, everything goes up in today’s society but our paychecks and it makes it harder to make ends meet at Christmastime so at least every child can have something to unwrap, even if it’s one or two gifts,” said Davis.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.