Toys for Tykes rides this Saturday

Published 11:59 pm Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Less fortunate children may have a better Christmas than they would have otherwise,thanks to the efforts of Toys for Tykes.

For the past 19 years the organization has been holding a motorcycle run to raise toy and monetary donations for the less fortunate. This year’s effort will be Saturday from 10 a.m. until noon.

Interested parties are asked to gather at the National Guard Armory on U.S. 11 South, and bring one unwrapped toy or a $10 donation per rider, said Toys for Tykes coordinator Tony Tarver.

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At noon, the motorcyclists will leave the armory and head down U.S. 11 and turn onto Goodyear Boulevard where they will stop at the Veteran’s Memorial at the Historic City Hall. There, a ceremony honoring veterans will take place, complete with a flag raising by the Picayune High School Navy JROTC and the firing off of a canon or two by the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Tarver said.

The public, young and old, is invited to participate in the ceremony and witness Santa Claus riding his motorcycle, Tarver said. Ron Martin will act as the Master of Ceremonies. Martin is a member of the Louisiana Fallen Warriors.

After the ceremony, the riders will leave the Historic City Hall, head south down U.S. 11 and turn onto Memorial Boulevard. From Memorial Boulevard, the motorcyclists will turn onto Ridge Road where they will go to the VFW where food and a live band will entertain the participants, Tarver said.

Last year the effort helped about 275 local youngsters. Children are selected through a screening process, which includes providing proof of Pearl River County residency, Tarver said.

Anyone interested in getting more information on the bike run or applying for assistance can call 601-798-3367. An account has been set up at Hancock Bank where monetary donations can be made.

Tarver said the organization is not looking for recognition so members ask eligible parents to pick up donations without their children so the children will not know where the toys came from.

“We try to build a family bond is what we do,” Tarver said.