By Stephen Judd
“Dasher and Dancer stayed home on Saturday, with Santa and company delivering presents on Harley, on Honda, on Yamaha and Victory.” This was the comment of Ginny Miller, of the Daily Journal, as she summarized the annual Toy run that took place on December 12th.
For twenty years, Santa and company has consisted of several hundred bikers converging on our campus after parading up Main Street with a police escort from Ballard Park. Again this year, onlookers waved as the bikers passed by on their mission awaiting them at the end of East Main Street. These motorcycle enthusiasts gathered from all over the region from a number of states to participate in this exciting event, sponsored by the local Mingo Mid-South Rider Association.
“The emotions bleed through the leather,” stated one of the riders. The participants were visibly touched by what they saw and felt as they brought Christmas gifts and a lot of happiness to a bunch of special kids.
After arriving on the campus, the bikers were fed a hearty breakfast in the Dining Hall – biscuits & gravy, sausage, cinnamon rolls, fruit, hot chocolate – you name it.
The children assembled inside, anxiously waiting to be called by name to come up and be greeted by Santa before receiving their gifts. They would then go into the gymnasium to open their presents as the sponsoring bikers watched with glee. Our TCM residents and staff children received gifts, as well as children from five other children’s homes in the area. This event has become so big that we have invited other organizations to participate for the past several years, including: Blue Mountain Children’s Home, Harden House, Alpha House, Faith Haven, and Gardner Simmons Home.
After all the gifts were opened, a number of the bikers were more than willing to offer rides for the children around the drive that encompasses our athletic field. I can’t tell you how exciting this was for the kids, and staff members too.