Local bikers joined forces with the Christian Services organization on a damp and chilly Sunday afternoon to support local children this holiday season.
This was a part of the 12th Annual Christmas in Dixie toy ride. Each rider donated ten dollars or a new toy to help fund Christian Service's Birthday Party for Jesus, which will provide 300 to 500 kids with new toys for Christmas. Despite the bad weather, motorcycle enthusiasts poured in eager to help support local children in need. Toys piled up and money flowed in as nearly 100 bikers showed up.
Organizers believe this event helps funnel the effort of people wanting to help into a worthy cause.
"Everybody wants to give and wants to help people. What they need is a vehicle and we are excited that they have chosen this ride and Christian Services to be the vehicle to adopt it," says Executive Director of Christian Services Bill Prout.
The ride began at the wagon wheel video off Highway 49 and concluded at Elk's Lake Pavilion, where bikers were treated to refreshments and live music. Not only did the ride support Birthday Party for Jesus, but money raised from refreshment sales were donated to Elk's Club Camp Special. The goal is to give children a very merry Christmas who otherwise may not.
"There are kids in our community, and I know it sounds odd but there are, who will not have a Christmas, or if they aren't going to have new toys. So this is going to them. And of course Cookie and I have been doing this for 25 years and it's exciting to see the kids come. It's exciting to see them get these toys, the reason for the season. The Christmas story and to go home and have a happy Christmas," says Prout.
The Birthday Party for Jesus will be held on Saturday December 17 in Hattiesburg.