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Ninth-annual Toy Run brings Christmas cheer in July

SERVE Inc. will bring some Christmas cheer in July in hopes of making a happier holiday for some residents in December.

The ninth-annual Toy Run to support the organization’s Adopt-A-Family Programs will take place this Saturday. The event — which features motorcyclists and other vehicles riding through town with Christmas gift donations — will take advantage of the more agreeable summer climate and hopefully bring out even more support, said SERVE volunteer Barb DeVille.

“We run into so much conflict with bad weather waiting till November; it’s bad weather, it’s cold and people don’t like going out in it,” DeVill said. “(July) is nice weather, the bikers love getting out in this weather so we thought we’d just do Christmas in July.”

Registration is 9:30-11 a.m. at Ranch House BBQ. Participants will begin the ride from the restaurant with the toys they purchased at about noon, but a stop will be made at Walmart to allow those who didn’t purchase items to do so.

From there, riders will ride to the site of the event’s co-sponsor, Fulton Ford, for a short lunch and to drop off gifts.

“That’s what keeps us going and makes it possible for us to make a difference,” SERVE Executive Director Steve Malinkcrodt said.

The Adopt-A-Family Programs, now in its 25th year, attracts 350-450 applicants a year. This is the second year Fulton Ford has co-sponsored the event and DeVille has called the group a “major help.”

SERVE collected more $1,000 worth of new toys during last year’s run. Donations from this Saturday will be put aside until the holidays and DeVille said that another run could take place this year to garner even more gifts for the Adopt-A-Family Programs.

“It’s been wonderful and some of the smiles on the kid’s face when they pick up their gifts at Christmas time is all the reward we need,” DeVille said. “The moms, the dads, the grandpas are so appreciative.

“It’s a good feeling to give back to those who don’t have as much as you do.”

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