Toys for Tykes bike ride is Saturday

Published 6:14 pm Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Disadvantaged children in Pearl River County could benefit from a group of volunteers who will collect toys via a bike run this weekend.

For the past 18 years Toys for Tykes has been riding their bikes to give disadvantaged children a Merry Christmas, said Toys for Tykes coordinator Tony Tarver.

This year the event will begin at the National Guard Armory on U.S. 11 at 11 a.m. where registration will take place. Registration costs a new boy’s or girl’s toy. After registration, the group will head to the historic city hall in a Picayune police escorted ride where they will honor all United States veterans, Tarver said.

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At city hall, Picayune’s NJROTC and the local chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans will perform a flag raising ceremony in honor of the veterans.

“At the ceremony we will honor all veterans,” Tarver said.

The ceremony will take place at about 12:30 p.m. that same day.

From there, all participants will head to the VFW, who was generous enough to donate their time and food. There participants will be fed and enjoy live music. The VFW will be the end of the ride since most of the people who participate will have driven a long distance to get to Picayune, Tarver said. People are expected to arrive from throughout the tri-state area, consisting of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. On average the event gathers about 200 people on motorcycles for the cause.

The community is invited to participate in the ride and the veterans’ ceremony.

Monetary donations will help local children at a Poplarville Children’s home, Tarver said. Toys collected in the event will benefit Pearl River County children and those children living in Hancock County who are part of the Picayune Municipal Separate School District.

Monetary donations can be made prior to the event by calling 601-799-0191 or at the nearest Hancock Bank to the Toys for Tykes account. Toy donations can be dropped off prior to the event at the armory.

“We’re just trying to take care of as many children as we can,” Tarver said.

Distribution of the collected toys will be Saturday, Dec. 15. Families who would like to benefit from the Toys for Tykes effort can call 601-799-0191 to apply, Tarver said.

“We try to donate to the kids who are less than fortunate,” Tarver said.

He said the group does not know how many children the effort will help this year until after the bike ride when all the toys will have been collected. If a family has been approved, Tarver asks eligible parents to pick up the child’s toys without their children so they don’t know where the toys came from.