Don’t be surprised if you see a motorcyclist roaring down the street this September with a stuffed animal strapped to their bike.
The Salvation Army launched its 29th annual Toys for Tots campaign Friday with the help of the local motorcycle community.
Toys will be collected throughout the month and on Sept. 15, the bikers will deliver the donations from Thunder Bay Harley-Davidson on Arthur Street to the Salvation Army in the Toys for Tots Motorcycle Ride.
“This year I think it’s especially important because of the flooding we had this year,” said Tom Gowler of the Superior Riders club. “A lot of people are going to be missing their favourite toys and stuff. A lot of people in distress are going to be able to appreciate the efforts of the Salvation Army this year.”
Harley Owners Group member Willy Skinn said the Toys for Tots Ride is one of the best events around because it helps kids.
“I love giving for the kids all the time. Anything for the kids is great,” he said, adding they hope to see more bikes out this year and more toys donated.
“We get a good turnout,” he said. “People come out, they donate and when you get over here and see that pile of toys here that are going to kids you know need them, it’s unbelievable.”
Last year, 100 bikes participated in the ride and Gowler said they expect that number to rise.
“We leave Thunder Bay Harley at 1 p.m. with toys and donations strapped onto the bikes – stuffed animals, hockey sticks, Lego blocks, you name it. You see everything strapped onto the bikes,” he said.
The ride on Sept. 15 starts at Thunder Bay Harley-Davidson at 1 p.m. and travels down Simpson Street, Fort William Road, Water Street and then onto Cumberland Street and ends at the Salvation Army.
New, unwrapped toys and cash donations can be dropped off prior to Sept. 15 at J&J Sports, North Country Cycle and Sports, Thunder Bay Harley-Davidson, Gordon Trailer Sales and Excalibur Motorcycle Works.
Bondslave Motorcycle Club, Harley Owners Group, Ontario Northwest Retreads, Superior Riders, Team Code 3.com and Infidels MC Thunder Bay are all on board for this year’s event.
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