Just under 20 Prince Rupert Harley Riders arrived all at once in the parking lot of the Salvation Army on the evening of Nov. 27.
“They usually come all together,” Captain Gary Sheils from the Salvation Army said.
Riders disembarked to officially donate funds and toys collected for the 31st annual Toy Run held in October. This year 281 toys were collected, and $10,200 was raised for the Salvation Army Christmas Hamper program, which surpassed last year’s totals of 250 toys and $10,000.
“[The Harley Riders] are like one big happy family,” said Norm Sklapsky, who has organized the event for four years, taking over after long time event organizer and club president Mark Desautels passed away.
“We like to go out and do our thing while raising money and collecting toys for the kids. That’s what it’s all about.”
The Toy Run accumulates funds through the poker run, and dance afterward, selling t-shirts, with Donna Wing spearheading sales this year, and rounding up donations from local businesses and people.
Toys are collected as part of the admission to the annual dances.
Captain Sheils is forecasting 850 families, or 2,700 people, will use the Salvation Army’s Christmas Hamper program this year, which is about the same as 2011.
“When you consider the size of our town, 2,700 people is a lot,” he said.
Throughout the years the event has raised approximately $300,000 and more than 5,000 toys.
“Without help [from the riders] there’s no way we could put Christmas together for that many people. I can’t say how much I appreciate everything they do year after year,” Captain Sheils said.