Toys for Tots turns 21 this year

Dave Mathieson
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SACKVILLE, N.B. - Bikers will get their motors running and head out on the highway Saturday.

And it's not just a few bikers.
Last year, 650 motorcycles and close to 1,000 riders came out to drop off toys and make cash donations for the annual Tantramar Toys for Tots motorcycle run.
And with good weather on the horizon it's hoped at least that many bikers will be drawn to the 21st edition of the event.
"We meet at 1 p.m., at the McDonald's and leave at 2 p.m., sharp," said Bruce Sears, the secretary of the event. "We go on a tour through Sackville then over to Dorchester, then back to the Civic Centre in Sackville.
"Things start to wind down at about 5 p.m., and then we have entertainment at night with Matt Minglewood at the Civic Centre."
Before the ride, a van will be parked at the McDonald's restaurant where participants are asked to bring a new toy or a cash donation for the Toys for Tots campaign, then after the ride the van will be parked at the Tantramar Civic Centre, where it will continue to receive toy and cash donations.
"Even if you're not participating in the bike run but want to drop off a toy or make a donation, we are more than happy to receive them," said Sears.
The event is also popular among spectators.
"A lot of people come out to check out the bikes or line the route to watch as the bikes drive by," added Sears.
Last year the run raised $15,000 worth of new toys and cash donations and has raised in excess of $175,000 since 1989.
The run helps disadvantaged families in five communities in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
Toys and funds raised go to Moncton HeadStart, Sackville Christmas Cheer, Dorchester Volunteer Association, Amherst Christmas for Kids Campaign and Port Elgin District Voluntary Action Group.
Sears said it is often better to donate money than it is toys because these organizations know the age of the kids who need the toys and, therefore, buy age-appropriate toys. Also, 10 per cent of all cash donations will be forwarded to the Ronald McDonald House Atlantic in Halifax.
This year's Toy Run is dedicated to Mike Wheaton and Jordan Cormier. Wheaton passed away last March and never missed a Toy run in 20 years. Cormier lost his life in a tragic scooter accident in August. He was 14.
"Jordan was looking forward to participating in his first Toy Run this September," said Sears.
There will be door prizes, raffles and trophies presented after the run. Donations are also being accepted at Crescent Automotive in the Sackville Industrial Park. Only new toys are accepted.
Matt Minglewood hits the stage at 10 p.m.

Organizations: Tantramar Civic Centre, McDonald's, Tantramar Toys for Tots Action Group Ronald McDonald House Atlantic

Geographic location: SACKVILLE, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia Port Elgin District Halifax Sackville Industrial Park

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