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Toy Run celebrates 20th anniversary this Saturday in Shallotte

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By Rachel Johnson, Staff Writer

SHALLOTTE—Some of them may have long hair and tattoos. Many of them may wear leather, but they all have big hearts.

This Saturday, Dec. 8, bikers and classic car enthusiasts from throughout county will come together to make a difference in the lives of children.

The 20th anniversary of the Brunswick County Toy Run by the Motorcycle and Classic Car Enthusiasts is Saturday.

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. in the Walmart parking lot. Riders and drivers will leave with a police escort at 11 a.m. Registration is $25 and includes lunch provided by Brunswick Islands Baptist Church. The ride will leave Walmart in Shallotte and travel to Ocean Isle Beach and on to Sunset Beach before returning to U.S. 17 and concluding at the church for lunch.

There will be door prizes, raffles and a small auction to raise money. Tickets will be sold throughout the day and at The Sign Shoppe in Supply for $20. They’re for a chance to win a John Deere riding mower and a 5X10 trailer. A-1 Hitch and Trailer donated the trailer, and Home Depot offered the mower at a discount. Only 300 tickets will be sold for the raffle. The winner gets both the mower and the trailer.

After the poker run and lunch, members will return to Walmart where they will meet 100 children. Each child will be given $100 to shop for items in the store. Jerome Munna, founder, said $50 is for necessities and $50 is for items on their wish lists.

Twentieth anniversary T-shirts and hats will be sold throughout the day. All money raised from the poker run, raffle and other activities are used for the Christmas shopping program and the group’s scholarship program.

“We will be spending about $10,000-$11,000 that day, and in the spring we spend between $5,000-6,000 in scholarships,” Munna said. “We want to invest a little bit in education, too.”

Munna has been overwhelmed by the support the toy run has received throughout the years.

Many area organizations have donated money to help make the event possible. Brunswick Family Assistance helps screen children as recipients for the program.

“Everything we do stays in Brunswick County,” Munna said. “It doesn’t go out. The goal has always been to keep it home here in Brunswick. Over the years I have seen Brunswick County has a huge heart and that they do help each other…There are a lot of big-hearted bikers and car people here—you can’t judge a book by its cover. They may have long hair, but they have big hearts and want to help others.”

Munna said the event has evolved during the last 20 years.

“I moved here in 1985-86 from Virginia and started a business. We used to have poker runs there where everyone would bring stuffed animals and toys, and nobody was doing it here,” Munna said. “I wanted to find a way to give back to the county. I just wanted to give back, and I heard there were a lot of people struggling for Christmas.”

The first year Munna and the toy run reached out to 10 children. There were 38 bikers who rode 100 miles through the county. The goal was to raise $1,000.

“It grew from 10 children to 35 children to 100,” Munna said. “One thing just snowballed into something else, and it got bigger. We can’t quit now, especially with the times the way they are. We never planned it to be so big or to go on so long.”

Munna said it is a lot of work and takes numerous volunteers who he is thankful to work alongside. The event happens rain or shine, snow or sun. And at the end there are lots of hugs and laughter as the shopping is completed and everyone heads home filled with the holiday spirit.

For more information on the toy run, visit online at www.brunswickcountytoyrun.org. Don’t miss this weekend’s ride or the annual spring ride.

 

Rachel Johnson is a staff writer at The Brunswick Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or rjohnson@brunswickbeacon.com.