AUSTIN (KXAN) – Hundreds of Austin-area motorcyclists loaded their bikes with gifts Sunday to spread joy this holiday season.
They left from Texas Mist on Old Bastrop Highway at 12 p.m. and rode all the way to Helping Hand Home, a safe haven for abused children. Accompanied by a police escort, these motorcyclists delivered toys to children at the home. It was all part of the Annual Motorcycle Toy Run.
Hundreds of motorcycles poured into center’s parking lot for over 20 minutes.
“I’m smiling right now because the sights and sounds say it’s Christmas time in Hyde Park,” said Ted Keyser, executive director of Helping Hand Home.
It sends a message of love and support to the children there.
“These kids have seen the worst in humanity,” Keyser said. “And, they’re not with their families. And, it’s Christmas time, so for them to look out and see 20 minutes of bikes rolling in – that’s a pretty powerful message.”
That’s why Santa leads the pack of motorcycles during the toy run each year. He’s helped raise more than enough toys to give children this upcoming holiday season. That means extra toys can be given out next year, for birthdays and special events.
“They’re so glad! I’m so glad,” Santa said. “Some of the little ones, they start crying.”
Many of the bikers have been participating for over a decade. But, it’s the first time Troy West drove his own motorcycle in the toy run. He sees this as an opportunity to change the way society views bikers.
“So many times in movies and in media, bikers are given the wrong name,” West said. “But, if you actually get to meet the biker community, you realize how people are so nice and kind and giving. And, you never really see that until you actually get to meet the people.”
West added he definitely plans to come back next year.
Dan Simmons of the Austin Area Motorcyclists founded the run 29 years ago. Although he’s passed away, his wife Teresa continues to be involved in the event each year. For more information about Helping Hand Home click here.