18,000 Plus Expected for this Year’s Olympia Toy Run!
By Deborah Angus
your significant other, your kids, grandkids or some other buddy up and
pack your bike with toys. Because it is time to get ready for the
Olympia Toy Run.
This, the 35th annual riding bonanza, will take
place on Saturday, December 1st and will most likely prove to be the
largest Olympia Toy Run yet. Gates open at the South Sound Center in
Lacey, WA (exit 108 from I-5, Sears Parking Lot) at 10 AM, performers
will dazzle from 11 to 12:30 PM, and the "parade" begins at 1. And more
than 18,000, last year's record, are expected to attend this year's
event that is solely dedicated to raising funds and collecting toys for
needy kids this holiday season.
Originally inspired by a group of
27 men 35 years ago, these motorcycle lovers wanted to make a
difference. And boy did they! Over the years the run has transformed
from a modest effort into a mammoth event that gives riders a chance to
celebrate the holidays in a unique way. This year riders will enjoy
repeat performances by the professional Seattle Cossacks Stunt &
Drill Team, and the T90 Drill Team and, with weather permitting, the
largest anticipated number of motorcyclists ever will ride in a colossal
parade that might just be the biggest ever in history.
See the map on the official Olympia Toy Run site.http://olytoyrun.com/event/event-map/
most amazing part of the event is the fact that so many individuals
from a single community come together to support such a worthy cause. In
2010, Quick Throttle magazine reported more than 13,500 toys valued at
$202,000 and another estimated $23,000 in cash donations were collected.
The enormous contribution definitely brought a smile to hundreds and
hundreds of children's faces.
All toys and donations are
forwarded to Olympia's Salvation Army for distribution via their Toy n'
Joy Shop. There, qualified parents from Lacey, Olympia and Tumwater can
browse age appropriate rooms and pick and choose from among the donated
items. (For information on applying for the program, call 360-352-8596
or apply at the Salvation Army Corps Community Center on Dec. 6, 2012
from 8:30 to 11:30 and 12:30 to 3:30: 1505 E. 4th Avenue, Olympia, WA
Mike Oravits, project coordinator at the Salvation Army
in Olympia, said "I don't know what we would do without contributions,
and the efforts of Toy Run Leader Joe Sullivan." Before the Toy Run, the
Salvation Army would be forced to spend finite funds for their holiday
gift program that can now be used for other purposes.
27-foot U-hauls are usually delivered to us by Toy-Run volunteers which
are our main source of toys," he noted -- and that's definitely a
boat-load of toys!
As far as the booty you can bring, Oravits
said that the best toys are those that are durable and actually less
expensive. "In addition to toys, we can also use new clothing -- shoes
and coats for all ages.
We could also use gifts for 13 to 16 year
olds." He said even though they have not been traditionally included in
the program, it's tough to see parents with young and small children
walk away with nothing for their teens. See the side bar on the left for
more gift ideas.
Facebook fan Polaris Suzuki shared how she
gets non-riding shoppers involved. "I usually go into the Target at the
[Toy Run] staging area and go to the toy section. On the way to the
counter I have people running up with toys and cash to pay for said toys
to add to the donation. It feels good to see even those that don't ride
take part by adding to the joy of kids on Christmas morning."
Eagle Leather will be There Give
a gift to yourself by checking in with the Eagle Leather gang, who will
be manning a booth in the vendor section. There is a free drawing that
you can sign up for but you can only find out about the specifics if you
visit the booth. Can't make the ride? Drop in to either of our stores
before December 16 and ask about the Great Gear Giveaway. We'll get you
registered! Volunteers Needed!
Salvation Army is always in need of a extra hands. If you are so
inclined and would like to help, call 360-352-8596 ext. 0, between 8 AM
and 3:30 PM. Tell them you want to volunteer.