Toy ride to bring joy to children in need

Published 9:00 am Tuesday, November 9, 2021

For years, an annual toy ride for the Christian Service Center has brought Christmas joy to the children of families in need. This year’s event, co-hosted by motorbiking group American Legion Riders Post 18 will take place on Sunday, Nov. 28.

Officially, the event is for motorcycles, Jeeps, and hot rods, but Ron Stuckey, assistant director of American Legion Riders Post 18, said any street legal vehicle can participate.

Registration will take place from 11 a.m. to noon EST at the Valley Sportsplex at 130 Sportsplex Drive. It will cost $25 per vehicle or a toy of equal value. Lunch will be included. Kickstands will go up at 1 p.m.

Those who don’t want to participate in the ride can buy a sack lunch for $5.

Participants can also buy 50/50 tickets, contributing money to a pot with each purchase. The person with the ticket that gets drawn will win half of the money in the pot, whereas the other half will go to the Christian Service Center.

Stuckey said that people usually donate their winnings back, but they don’t have to.

Stuckey said that his organization, which has about a dozen riders, has assisted with the toy ride for the past two years. He wasn’t sure when the event was started, but he emphasized that it was Jeff Harper’s idea.

“It started with Tommy Weldon and Jeff Harper trying to help the Christian Service Center out,” he said. “We supported them a couple of times, and then they said, ‘Hey, you want to go and partner on it?’ And we said sure.”

Harper estimated that last year, the event raised a little over $1,000.

“And we didn’t even ride last year because the weather was so bad,” he said. “People would stop by and drop a check off and then leave.”

The Christian Service Center is a charitable organization located in Huguley.

“They’ve got a little warehouse, and they take donations, and then they give back to the community,” Stuckey said. “I’m also a Mason, and we’ve helped them before. They would give us, like, two names of a family, and we would get the Christmas presents for the kids. We do this every year to help get presents for the kids. And the different churches submit names of people that are in need, and they try to help them out.”

Stuckey said the event is kid-friendly and that Santa Claus sometimes shows up.

He said the ride is about 65 to 70 miles long. Usually, Major T. J. Wood of the Chambers County Sheriff’s Office leads the way.

“It’s around Cusseta then circle back through Lanett, come back through up 29, back around Fairfax to the sportsplex,” Stuckey said. “It’s a good little loop. It’s a fun ride. Not too fast, not too slow.”

For more information, contact Jeff Harper at (706) 518-2040 or Tommy Weldon at (706) 518-7217.