Some 100 riders aboard 65 motorcycles rode in support of needy families last Saturday at the Bremen Walmart toy collection, putting a smile on the face of Curtis Eidson, Haralson County Toys for Tots coordinator.
Biker clubs from all over north Georgia rolled into Walmart’s parking lot, thrilling customers and Toys for Toys volunteers, who accepted toys and monetary gifts throughout the day. According to ride organizer Scott Youngblood of Temple, the clubs included Defiant Crew, Bikers for Christ, the Christian Motorcycle Association and the Bikers’ Care Unit.
Youngblood said it was the children who motivated the bikers to get involved in Toys for Tots.
“If my brothers are hungry or need help, then all of our big biker family helps them. We had twice as many riders here as we had last year,” Youngblood said. “They came from Haralson, Carroll, Douglas and other counties, from Stone Mountain, Dacula, Chicamaugua.”
Bremen’s Covenant Life Church of God served as host for the toy collection, the first of several planned for Walmart in the coming weeks. Roughly 50 young people volunteered for the host role, one of their duties being to purchase toys when cash donations were made.
Youth Minister Shane Tarpley said, “For our youth group in particular, it is important that they see how Toys for Tots is relevant to ministry; to see how they’re expanding their faith. It’s important to step away from our extra privileged lives to help provide when God calls us to reach out to others.”
Also seen purchasing toys and assisting in many ways were members of VFW Post No. 7402, Buchanan, including Post Commander Bill Glisson, Clint Childers, Joshua Crabtree, Kevin Hammond and Arnold Willegalle, who all fought overseas during World War II, Korea, Desert Storm or Afghanistan.
Students from Haralson County and Douglas County High Schools, the University of West Georgia, Emory University, Valdosta State and HCHS Alumni joined the Community Band of Haralson County and played patriotic music, striking up “The Marines Hymn” as the bikers parade rolled in. The combined band was led by Jonathan Sanders of Tallapoosa. A young male quintet, including Blake New, Clinton Robinson, Jacob Smith, Joshua Smith and James Wilbur, also played music at the collection site.
“We had a good day, filling several pickup trucks with toys,” said Eidson. “The weather was a bit chilly, but it didn’t stop our faithful workers and the bikers from doing the job for kids. We thank the bikers and all our volunteers and toy donors.”
Co-chair Brenda Eidson said, “We hope that lots of people will come out for our next Walmart toy collection next Saturday.”
Toys for Tots is sponsored annually by the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve, who partners with community groups worldwide to collect millions of new toys for disadvantaged children. All toys donated locally will be given to local families, according to Eidson.