Toys for Tots collected on bikes

Published 10:45 pm Monday, December 8, 2008

Anyone seeing a bunch of motorcycles riding through the streets on Sunday saw modern-day Santa Clauses, as the River City Bike Association (RBCA) was delivering toys to be used by needy children throughout the county.

The RCBA is marking the 11th annual Toys for Tots drive, which collected toys at four dropoff points throughout town and delivered them to the First Christian Church on North Walnut Avenue. From there, the toys will be brought to the Tombigbee Emergency Medical Service, the collection point for the Department of Human Resources.

Tombigbee EMS will then bring them to the Marengo County Department of Human Resources.

“We got started because one of our members, Ed Salter, was a biker,” said Jo Ann Baker of First Christian Church. “He invited (the River City Bike Association) to come down here. Then, it was just a small group, and it has just grown and grown since then.

“One lady was telling me that she went to the nursing home, and the nursing home ladies gave the toys to the children. That brought tears to my eyes; it really did. We just love sharing in a community project. We feel like this is what we’re doing for the community.”

The RCBA teamed up with DemopolisLIVE and the Cotillion Club for the Toys for Tots effort.

“I’m pleasantly surprised at the number of toys this year,” said Russ Gaddy of the River City Bike Association. “It was a good turnout, considering our economy and the state of the nation.

“It’s all about the kids for Christmas, you know, and we’re just glad that everybody came out. We hope to make it a bigger event each and every year. We encourage people who want to ride along with us and bring an unwrapped toy and make a child’s Christmas brighter.”

The Toys for Tots drive is part of Project: Merry Christmas, a project done through the Department of Human Resources.

“Anybody who donates can rest assured that it remains right here in Marengo County,” Gaddy said. “I want to thank everyone who helped — DemopolisLIVE and the Cotillion Club, as well as the ladies at the First Christian Church. They have us here every year, and they provide us with food every year since we started.”

“This is a very worthwhile project, and a fun thing, too,” said First Christian Church pastor David Bradshaw. “It’s neat to see these guys together doing something like that. It is exciting.”

Although the Toys for Tots drive was Sunday, people wanting to make a toy or cash donation to Project: Merry Christmas may still do so through the week of Christmas.

“People can take their donations to one of our several dropoff points,” Gaddy said. “They can contact me at 289-2894 or any member of the River City Bike Association, and we’ll make sure it gets to Mary Sue Henry at DHR, who is in charge of Project: Merry Christmas. There are several people who gave monetary donations, so if they want to write a check, it will be tax-deductible.”

Donations can be made at any of the Demopolis dropoff points, including F&F Drugs, AngelWing Gallery, SouthernCare Hospice and Parr’s Chevron.