Motorcycle group donates toys, food to needy

Published 10:42 pm Saturday, December 25, 2021

An area group of motorcycle enthusiasts came together recently to ensure that children would have a toy filled Christmas.

Bout’s Routes is a Facebook based motorcycle group in Pearl River County comprised of people who like riding motorcycles and was created to be a place for motorcycle enthusiasts to meet other riders. Laurel resident Greg Boutwell started the group a year ago, he expected only eight to 10 people to find as friends to ride with in the Laurel area. But now his group has grown to over 1,300 people.

“It just kind of took off,” Boutwell said.

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Last Sunday, Boute’s Routes member and Picayune resident Allen Harris brought up the idea of holding a toy and food drive, because he knew of two families that needed help for Christmas. That same day members decided to go with Harris’ plan and around 10 of the Facebook page’s members staged up their motorcycles complete with Christmas decorations at the local Walmart parking lot. They stood in the parking lot for over five hours with signs asking for food and toy donations for the needy families.

“It was unbelievable at the number of people who stopped, people would holler out their windows ‘we’ll be right back’ and they’ll go to Walmart load up stuff and bring it back to us,” said Boutwell.

That day, the volunteers collected over 400 toys, a truckload of food and about $700 in cash. The cash collected was donated to pay off a few light bills for families in need and the toys and food were given to needy families in the community One person even bought $1,006 worth of toys for the cause. Boutwell said the effort will help over 40 families.

Bout’s Routes member and Picayune resident Joey “Preacher” Motichek led the distribution of toys and food to the community.

“It was extremely humbling,” said Motichek.

During Sunday’s collection of donations Motichek said the outpouring of food and toys by the community was like a snowball effect, once they started getting a small pile of toys and food, a steady stream of people came, all wanting to donate.

Those in the Facebook group include people who have seen hardships.

“We know exactly what it’s like to have to choose between the light bill or your kids. So it was really humbling to give back to the same type of people who have looked out for one of us one way or another,” said Motichek.

Next for the group is a visit to Coast Electric Power Association to pay light bills for those in need and donate the rest of the toys they have left. The group plans to make this an annual event.