Highway Hikers toy run to help ‘rescue’ Christmas in Clark County

The Highway Hikers will host its annual toy run for Clark County children next weekend.

The 42nd Annual Christmas Toy Run will take place at 1 p.m. on Oct. 18. The run collects toys for Clark County children in need and donates them to the Springfield Salvation Army.

“We figured that this would probably be one of the most important years to do it considering a lot of people probably got laid off from work and definitely could use the assistance,” Adrian Campos, a Highway Hiker said.

Ryan Ray, the development director of the Springfield Salvation Army said that this year they are expecting an increase in Clark County families needing Christmas assistance.

Last year, over 3,300 motorcycles participated in the toy run, which helped the Springfield Salvation Army serve over 2,000 children.

“We very much value our partnership with the Highway Hikers and this year we are working together to sort of rescue Christmas for families who are worried about the basics, let alone Christmas," Ray said.

Campos said they are hoping to have more than 4,000 motorcycles participate in the toy run. He added that a couple of the Highway Hikers have agreed to shave their heads if 5,000 motorcycles participate.

The ride will start at the VFW, 1587 N. Lake Rd. in New Carlisle and end at the Clark County Fairgrounds, 4401 S. Charleston Pike in Springfield.

“Every rider participating is either to bring a new toy or a $10 donation,” Campos said. “Most people do both.”

The Springfield Salvation Army’s Christmas Campaign will make sure each child in need will receive two new toys, new clothing, stuffed animals, and stocking stuffers this Christmas, Ray said.

“We’re up against it this year, but we know this community is always supportive and we’ll pull together and make sure no kids wakes up Christmas morning to an empty Christmas tree," Ray added.

Residents are encouraged to bring lawn-chairs to watch one of the state’s largest toy runs with bikers participating from different states. The bikers will ride past the George Rogers Clark Park, the Masonic Home and Springfield’s Main Street on their 1 to 2 hour long ride.

“It’s something that started back in 1978,” Campos said. “It’s a tradition that we want to continue to do for our previous brothers who started it. We just love helping our community, that’s basically what our club is about.”

“There’s a lot of kids that we will help this year that really don’t get much throughout the year.” Ray said. “Christmas becomes that one morning where they can over the top be blessed.”

COVID-19 safety measures have been implemented in conjunction with the Clark County Combined Health District and the Clark County Fairgrounds, Ray said. Campos added that face masks will be encouraged, especially when social distancing is not possible.

“We definitely appreciate everybody coming out and taking the time out of their day to do so, especially on a Sunday," Campos said.

“Everybody puts their indifferences to the side and it becomes this perfect combination of love and leather," Ray added.

Residents wanting to donate can bring donations to the Highway Hikers, 2020 Lake Rd. in Medway or call the Salvation Army Springfield Corps, 937-322-3434.

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