Families receive gifts from River Riders M.C. Toy Run
The River Riders Motorcycle Club handed out more than 4,000 gifts collected from their toy run to 70 families at the Havasu Community Health Foundation food bank on Kiowa Boulevard.
Three weeks ago, the River Riders collected nearly 5,000 toys for less fortunate families during their 35th annual toy run from Parker to Havasu. This past Saturday, the prequalified families were given five toys for each child in their family and picked items from the clothing boutique inside the food bank. Boutique organizer, Lynne Barnes said, “After the families drive through to pick up their toy bag, they can come in here and pick 10 items of clothing. Everything in here is donated from the community. We have such a great community, everyone wants to help everyone.”
In addition to the toys and clothes, the River Riders gave an extra stuffed animal to each child in the family as they drove out of the food bank parking lot. River Riders’ Vice President, Paul Blazer said, “We collected so many toys we have enough to give to other programs to last an entire year. We gave gifts to the Haven Resource Center, Dementia center at the Health Foundation, Pay it Forward, the community dinner, and police department.” Colleen Mattinson, a primary member of the Health Foundation who works with the River Riders added, “The Health Foundation’s food bank is starting a birthday program for those qualified to receive benefits from the food bank or have an EBT card. We will give one of the additional gifts from the toy run to them when it’s their birthday. We don’t want anyone in our community to feel left out or lost.”
According to Linda Seaver, CEO of the Health Foundation, “Colleen is the best thing to happen to this food bank. She works harder than anyone to get donations and support for this program.” Because of Mattinson’s efforts, the food bank is able to provide food to less fortunate families all year round. Everything in the food bank is donated by the community, as well as St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance which provides emergency boxes with either 16 or 23 pounds of food.
Seaver wanted to clear up misconceptions the community may have had regarding donations during Thanksgiving.
“Some people were upset with our program, thinking we took turkeys from the less fortunate families and gave them to another program.” Seaver said. “We wish we were able to donate 40 turkeys this year but did not have the funds. Our good friends at the River Valley Health Hospice went out of their way to purchase the turkeys from Smith’s and donate them in the name of the Havasu Community Health Foundation. That is how our community works; we all help each other out in times of need. We just wanted to clear that up with our donors; to let them know that their efforts are much appreciated, and we would never take from the less fortunate.”
The River Riders Motorcycle Club and Havasu Community Health Foundation wanted to thank everyone who donated and the nine members of the Community Emergency Response Team (C.E.R.T.) for taking the time out of their weekend to make sure the families were able to get in and out of the food bank parking lot safely.