Toy Run brings holiday joy to kids

Published 6:29 pm Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Donated toys piled up on the steps of the Polk County courthouse at the end of last year’s Toy Run. (photo by Leah Justice)

Polk County Toy Run set for Nov. 26
This Saturday, Nov. 26, hundreds of motorcylists will take off from the Saluda Fire Department for a ride around Polk County.
Although it’s not unusual for motorcyclists to take a weekend day to enjoy the winding roads and mountain scenery in the area, these bikers are out for more than just a joy ride.
They will be delivering hundreds of toys and other donations to help give local needy children a happy holiday.
The need is greater than ever this year, according to Kim Pack of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, which sponsors the event.
“Last year we doubled the previous year in how many families we helped,” Pack said. “This year I think we might triple that number.”
Many area families are struggling, Pack said. Unemployment is still high and people are worried about rising expenses, especially energy costs.
“We had one caller say, ‘I don’t even care about the toys this year – we just need new tennis shoes,’” Pack said. “That’s how bad things are this year.”
Polk County Toy Run participants will gather at 11 a.m. at the Saluda Fire Department, where they will be welcomed with a barbecue lunch, DJ music and door prize give-aways.
There is an admission fee, which can be paid in money or toys. All proceeds go to needy families in Polk County, through the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Steps to HOPE, the Polk County Department of Social Services and Thermal Belt Outreach Ministry.
The bikers will form a parade and take off through Saluda at 2 p.m., led by Santa Claus with his sleigh full of toys. Organizers encourage the community to come out to cheer the bikers in each town on their route.They will pass through Tryon at 2:15 p.m. and Landrum at 2:30 p.m.
Bikers will then pass through Green Creek and Mill Spring before arriving at their final destination, the Columbus courthouse, at 3 p.m. Participants will unload their toys on the courthouse steps.
This year, Blue Waters Pool and Spas of Columbus has donated a Kamado Joe Grill, which will be raffled off at the courthouse.
The event will also feature T-shirts designed by Elizabeth Shanahan of Polk County High School, who won this year’s design contest for the event. She received $100 and a shirt with her design.

Elizabeth Shanahan of Polk County High School won the T-shirt design contest for the Polk County Toy Run this year. She is shown here with organizer Barry Gee (left) and Polk County Sheriff Donald Hill. Shanahan received $100 and a shirt with her design. (photo submitted by Barry Gee)

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