Supporting Christmas cheer programs
© Darrell Cole - Amherst News
Bruce Sears will be participating in the 25th Tantramar Toy Run on Sept. 7 beginning at the Sackville McDonald's and continuing to the Tantramar Civic Centre.
SACKVILLE, N.B. – More than $230,000 later the Tantramar Toys for Tots Motorcycle Run continues to bring smiles to children at Christmas.
The 25th edition of the toy run is set for Sept. 7 beginning at the Sackville McDonald’s restaurant and ending at the Tantramar Civic Centre.
“We’re expecting motorcyclists from across the Maritimes. It has become a pretty big event with all the money raised going to Christmas Cheer programs on both sides of the border,” organizer Bruce Sears said.
Sears said as many as a 1,000 bikes could be on hand for the event – especially if the weather is good. More bikes than usual could be there this year because it’s the 25th anniversary of the toy run.
Christmas for Kids receives money in Amherst from the program while other organizations to receive support include: Moncton Headstart, Sackville Christmas Cheer, Port Elgin District Voluntary Action Group, and the Dorchester Volunteer Association.
Tantramar Toys for Tots has also contributed financially to the Sackville Memorial Hospital, Children’s Wish Foundation, Terry Fox Run, Bob Edgett’s Boxing Club, Amherst Accessible Playground Project, Tree of Life, hot lunch programs in the area, Tantramar Veterans Memorial Civic Centre, playground improvements throughout the region, Sackville Athletics, Rare Breed for Rare Disease, Secret Santa and Ronald McDonald House.
“We’ve also been able to lend a hand over the years to some area families who have had children with very serious illnesses, helping with expenses,” organizer Mike Purdy told the Sackville-Tribune Post.
Purdy, who organized the first Tantramar Toys for Tots motorcycle run back in 1989, got the idea after reading about a toy run in Augusta, Me. that had attracted some 6,000 attendants.
“I thought we could perhaps put one together in this area and maybe raise some funds for The first run included 49 bikes. He never knew it would get as big as it has.
“I never thought it would get this big. It’s almost taken on a life of its own,” he admitted.
Tantramar Toys for Tots is a registered charity with official receipts being issued at the time of donation or point of sale for merchandise during the annual toy run event.
But the -ear tradition wouldn’t have made it this far without the help of many persons. Besides the many motorcyclists who turn out each year to give new toys and monetary donations, many volunteers also help to ensure the event’s success.
“Including the board of directors, committee members and all of the people who help out on the day of the run, every year more than 50 people volunteer their time to make this event work,” Purdy said.
Inmates at the Westmorland Institution have also gotten into the act by raising funds through special events held during the year.
“Every year for the past 23 they have given us a substantial cheque from funds they raised and each year before the run we spend about a half-hour at the institution just talking and showing them our bikes. It’s a really great thing they do; they want to give back to the community,” Purdy said said.
In addition to the motorcycle run itself, the Tantramar Toys for Tots organization also raises funds through the sale of Toys for Tots merchandise, a 50/50 draw and special musical event featuring the legendary Minglewood Band with special guests DC Smith & The Streamliners, a local blues band, to be held at the Tantramar Veterans Memorial Civic Centre in Sackville, also on Saturday, Sept. 7.
Tantramar Toys for Tots Motorcycle Run participants are asked to meet at the McDonald’s parking lot in Sackville between 12-1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 7. Participants will travel to Middle Sackville, turning onto Walker Road, Stanley Drive, to Mount View, back to McDonald’s and through Sackville, past the hospital to Dorchester along Route 935, turning onto Woodlawn Road and King Street, then returning to the civic centre for special ceremonies and musical entertainment.
Concert tickets are $25 each and are available at Tidewater Books in Sackville; JG Jewellers in Amherst and Frank’s Music in Moncton. For more information on the upcoming Tantramar Toys for Tots run, contact Mike Purdy at 506-536-7006, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. There’s also a website: www.toyrun.ca.
(With files from Joan LeBlanc, TC Media)