Motorcycle clubs gather toys for children in need


By Mike Taylor • Last Updated 9:54 am on Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Sawtooth Wolves Motorcycle Club members gather last year at their clubhouse to raise money for toys for area children. This year, four additional clubs will be taking part in the effort.

 

BARRYTON — When Randy Sayers and his fellow riders from the Sawtooth Wolves Motorcycle Club decided they wanted to raise a little money to help ensure local children have a merry Christmas, they didn’t have far to go to find a beneficiary.

It turned out the Greenville Lions Club had a program already in place that was willing to accept all the help it could get.

Last holiday season, the Wolves managed to gather about $100 worth of toys, which they donated to the Lions Christmas Store. This year, with the help of neighboring clubs Iron Coffins, Rough Roads, Social Filth and The Chosen Ones, Sayers is hoping to bring that figure up to $500.

On Saturday, beginning at 10 a.m., the clubs will host a Poker “Toy” Run. The clubs all will meet for breakfast at the Wolves’ clubhouse at 3800 19 Mile Road in Barryton and proceed from there with stops at each participating group’s clubhouse.

Due to the lateness of the season, Sayer said any vehicles — not just motorcycles — are welcome. Though the Wolves sponsored a similar effort last year, this is the start of what Sayer hopes will become an annual event.

These toys were gathered last year by members of the Sawtooth Wolves Motorcycle Club in Barryton. Club members hope to bring in at least five times this many toys during Saturday’s Poker Run. The toys will be donated to the Greenville Lions Club Christmas Store for needy area children.

“This time of year, it’s going to be iffy because of the weather,” Sayer said. “But I’m hoping to see at least 25 to 30 show up.”

Sayer has created a “traveling trophy” for the event — whichever club or organization donates the most toys or money to the cause will claim ownership of the trophy for that year and have the name of their group engraved on a special plaque affixed to the trophy.

“We want this to become one of the bigger events in the area,” Sayer said. “Our single club raised about $100 last year. This year we said, let’s do this as a combination club thing and make it worthwhile.”

The Lions Christmas Store in Greenville is one of the area’s longest running charitable events, though according to Lions member Dan Eagles, it has changed form several times over the past 60 years. Early on, club members accepted donations of used toys, then spent weeks refurbishing them before handing them out to economically disadvantaged children in the area.

That program eventually proved to be too time consuming for club members, however, and the idea for the Christmas Store was born.

This year the store will be open from 9 to 11 a.m. Dec. 7 in the Cedar Crest Elementary School gymnasium. Parents who have previously signed up for the program through one of the area schools will be allowed to pick up $30 worth of toys from the store for each child they have living at home.

“The club has been doing this for 60 years,” Eagles said. “The parents pay nothing. This is a fun project and a big project for the lions. We have a really good time with it.”

Typically, the program serves between 350 to 400 children each holiday season.

For more information on this Saturday’s poker run, call Sayer at (616) 581-6007 or Jerry “Bear” Cook at (616) 304-2264.

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