4th annual Toy Run this weekend

Last year, Mary Gordon was new to SERVE and did not know what to expect when Gary Powell and Dave Roark told her they were hosting a Toy Run for kids in Callaway County.

"They told me all I had to do was be at the covered bridge at a certain time," Gordon said. "Then all of a sudden, 117 motorcycles came billowing down Court Street toward me."

Gordon was blown away by the generosity she saw that day.

"I was choking back tears," she said. "I mean, this is thousands of dollars of toys they're bringing and these are kids who probably are not going to have much for Christmas. It's just so touching. I love it."

This year's ride is Saturday. Organizers said it has grown every year.

"It was started four years ago by Gary Powell when he owned the Ridin' in the Wind leather shop," Dave Roark said. "It just kept growing from there and it has grown every year. The first year we had around 70 bikers. Last year, we had 117."

The ride starts at the Fireman's Memorial in Kingdom City. This year, riders will leave at 12:30 p.m. and take a 25 mile ride. Then, the riders stop at Wal-Mart to get some extra toys and food for the families.

"These are families that for whatever reason missed applying for the Adopt-A-Family program," Gordon said.

Last year, the riders brought almost $3,000 in toys and 350 pounds of food.

"It shows community spirit. It's about giving back to the community," Roark said. "This is a tradition among bikers. Toy runs go on all over the United States."

The toys helped 130 children last year. This year, Gordon expects 150 or more children to need help outside of the Adopt-a-Family program.

"Some of these are grandparents raising their grandkids," Gordon said. "This year, I'm going to try to work with some special groups that are out of home placement kids, too."

The event has been named the Ridin' in the Wind Toy Ride in the past, after Powell's company. This business has since closed.

"But that wasn't any reason for us to stop having the toy run," Roark said. "We've been going well and helped out SERVE a lot with their programs, so we kept it going."

Roark wants to make sure everyone sees the bikes parade through town.

"Come out and watch the bikers. Just be downtwon between 1:30 and 2 p.m. and we'll come right down Court street."

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