Biggest year ever for Polk County Toy Run

Published 2:10 pm Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Some Polk County children who otherwise might not have gotten anything for Christmas because of the tough economic times will be receiving gifts after all.

This years Polk County Toy Run raised the most money and collected the most toys in the events history in Polk County.

Polk County Toy Run Director Barry Gee distributed checks to local organizations Monday with proceeds from the Nov. 28 event. Outreach Ministry, Steps To HOPE and Polk County Department of Social Services each received checks for $2,400. In comparison, those same organizations last year received $700 each.

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Gee expressed his excitement Monday as did representatatives from the organizations. The representatives said they were surprised and elated to receive so much more money this year and said it will help them meet the greater need in Polk County this year.

Gee said not only did the profits prove to be large this year but there were also three truckloads of toys brought to Polk County this year during the Toy Run.

More bikers participated this year than ever, with 415 motorcycles and 600 people attending the event. Gee said it was a great day for everyone, as the 600 people, some from Polk County and others from surrounding areas, including as far away as Columbia, S.C., ate and shopped in Columbus for the day.

I couldnt be more pleased, Gee said. Flabbergasted doesnt even begin to describe how Ive felt about the turnout.

This years event began from Saluda Fire and Rescue and traveled 28 miles through Saluda, Tryon, Landrum, Green Creek, and Mill Spring before ending over an hour later in Columbus at the steps of the historic courthouse.

Those entering the Toy Run paid a registration fee of $10 or a new toy. More than three truckloads of toys were received from participants and a total of $7,500 was raised.

The half and half raffle raised $2,220 and was won by Jim Tudhill, who donated $1,000 of his winnings back to the Toy Run.

Given the tough times so many people are facing this year we knew this event was vital to ensuring children in need had something to look forward to at Christmas, said Polk County Sheriff Donald Hill, who himself has been a key organizer with the event for many years. I think this just shows how much the people of this county care about their neighbors. Its a great sense of pride for me and I would say for those who participated in the event as well.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Gee said.&bsp; I cant wait to begin working on next years event.