Tarver calls it quits for Toys for Tykes

Published 9:11 am Monday, December 23, 2013

Tony Tarver announces to the group assembled that this was their last ride for Toys for Tykes.

Tony Tarver announces to the group assembled that this was their last ride for Toys for Tykes.

PICAYUNE — “There will no longer be Toys for Tykes,” said long time organizer, Tony Tarver, who along with his wife Regina, announced the end of the 24-year program at a rally held Saturday for a group of bikers who have faithfully contributed and joined the annual Christmas Ride for Toys for Tykes.

Both Tarvers had tears in their eyes, as the announcement was made. Regina Tarver was visibly upset as her husband told the group that he was finished with his duties and it was over.

The Toys for Tykes program began 24 years ago and has grown to be a major local provider of toys at Christmas. Tarver joined the organization in its second or third year and took over as the ride coordinator.

With ever increasing participation from county bikers, the program had been a significant contributor to Angel Tree Ministries over the past four years and to other charity groups before that.

“This wasn’t really an official group,” Tarver said. “We are just a bunch of individuals who would get in contact with all of the bikers and they would show up.”

“They have been a blessing. I cannot tell you how many children they have helped through Angel Tree with those toys that they turn in,” said Jane Manuel of Pearl River County Angel Tree Ministries. “The toys they donate are undesignated. That helps tremendously in filling the last minute needs that come in through DHS (Department of Human Services) and (from) other areas.”

“I discussed it with my wife, and we have decided it was time to end it,” Tarver said.  There was no particular situation that helped us make the decision to end it. There just got to be a little too much to do and there isn’t really anyone able to carry it on.”

When asked how he would fill the time that he has spent during the last 20 years working on Toys for Tykes duties, Tarver said, “I’m sure I will find something to do with my time. This was a year round planning event.”

“I have enjoyed participating in the annual ride throughout the years,” said Picayune Mayor Ed Pinero. “There was a strong sense of brotherhood, and it was for our county children, which made it such a fulfilling thing to be part of.”