The Blue Knights DE 1 host their 30th annual Toy Run on Sunday starting and ending at the Mill Creek Fire Hall, 3900 Kirkwood Highway in Marshalton, DE. Organizers expect between 350 and 450 riders to support this police escorted, rain-or-shine event.
All toys and proceeds from the ride benefit the Salvation Army in Wilmington, DE which uses the monetary and unwrapped gifts to provide for underprivileged children at Christmas. The Blue Knights have distributed more than 1,000 posters publicizing the event in order to make the 30th running the biggest yet.
"Motorcycle riders are the most giving people I've ever met in my life," said Baldo Sebastianelli, club president and a retired Delaware State Police officer. "We always have been and we always will be especially when it comes to children, military, police and fire."
The Blue Knights are an international motorcycle organization whose membership is reserved solely for active, retired or disabled law enforcement officers or those currently employed by a government agency. The charity rides are open to the public and the Delaware chapter hosts numerous benefit rides throughout the year.
The approximately hour-long ride stops at the Salvation Army where every rider and their passenger receive personal greetings by Majors Tim and Jan Duperree, the Salvation Army Delaware State Coordinators. All toys get dropped off as well as a check which typically averages around $2,000. Sebastianelli said the monetary donation allows the Salvation Army to purchase bigger ticker items and additional toys.
"It's a huge jumpstart for us, we don't start our toy drive for several more weeks," said Janet Duperree. "They've been doing this for 30 years, it's wonderful."
The Salvation Army's toy drive allows residents to pick the name of a child directly from a giving tree located in nearby malls. The Blue Knights toy run covers those not picked, children from the childcare center and families who reach out at the last minute. In total, more than 4,000 children benefit from the program and Duperree said her chapter is running a deficit and cannot buy or fund anything they absolutely don't need to.
"Without them, we would definitely have to purchase gifts," Duperree said.
Individual community members and local businesses chip-in to provide additional assistance not only in cash but for the ride as well. Once riders return to the Fire Hall, the after-party starts with food donated by Wal-Mart. Santa Claus also makes an appearance, and just for a day, replaces his sled for a motorcycle.
"Your feet will not touch the ground until you make the turn into Wilmington Salvation Army," Sebastianelli said of the smoothness of the ride. "This is for a good cause - every child will have a gift to open at Christmas."
Cost to join the ride is $15 per rider and $10 per passenger, plus one new unwrapped toy for a child between the ages of 1 and 13. Canned goods are also welcome. Registration is between 9 and 11 a.m and kickstands are up at approximately 11 a.m. on Sunday, November 10 at the Mill Creek Fire Hall, 3900 Kirkwood Highway in Marshalton, DE.
Other Rides Scheduled This Weekend:
Music City Motorcycle Show November 9-10: See the latest makes and models from domestic and import motorcycle manufacturers all under one roof. More than 200 vendor booths from all over the country in attendance. Show is Saturday and Sunday at the Williamson Ag Expo, 4215 Long Lane in Franklin, TN.
Vets for Vets Biker Event November 9: The Veterans for Veterans Biker Event is a family atmosphere, open to the public fund-raiser for hospitalized veterans in the Shreveport, LA area. The day features a bike show, bike games and the Motorcycle Freedom Ride Parade. Parade registration is over but admission is only $3.
14th Annual Toy Run November 9: The Blue Knights VA XIII chapter hosts their 14th annual Toy Run to benefit the Danville Social Services Child Welfare Fund for kids in foster care. Registration begins at 11 a.m. and kickstands up at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Thunder Road Harley-Davidson, 4960 Riverside Dr. in Danville, VA.
Ride for Dreams November 9: The 5th annual Ride For Dreams takes riders over the major bridges of Jacksonville, FL and raises funding for children battling life-threatening illnesses which is coordinated through Dreams Come True of Jacksonville. Registration is at 8:30 a.m. and kickstands up at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Adamec Harley-Davidson, 8909 Baymeadows Road in Jacksonville, FL.
Veteran's Day Poker Run November 10: The Oasis Lodge #52 hosts a Veteran's Day poker run to support the group's chosen charities like "Bikes for Books" and "Children at Risk," among others. Registration is from 8 to 10:30 a.m. Sunday at the Oasis Lodge, 450 N. Pantano Road in Tucson, AZ.
One More From the Heart November 10: The 23rd annual One More From the Heart Biker Run benefits Totally Kids Specialty Care - a home for the care of developmentally disabled/technology dependent children. Kickstands up at 10 a.m. Sunday at Chopper Place, 4791 Doane Ave. in Riverside, CA.