It's that time of year again for area businesses and communities to gear-up to give in an effort to help benefit underprivileged children in Barry and Lawrence counties.
The eighth annual Toy Run, which is co-sponsored by Gary and Sue Updike, will be an ideal time to do just that. The event is held to benefit Linn Thornton's annual Santa Claus project.
"It has been much harder this year to get donations," said Updike. "Since most of the donations are from small locally owned businesses, there is more need for the community to help."
The annual event attracts bikers from all across the area who donate toys and ride for the cause.
Ken and Ginger Zielinski, of Aurora, are once again planning the route for this year's event. Bikers will ride approximately 45 miles through some of Missouri's scenic countryside.
According to Updike, they have already received some items that will be given award in a drawing that will be held at the end of the event. Items include a homemade quilt made by Sue Updike, a homemade afghan made by Darlene Murphy, a donation by Nora Dalke, a gift certificate from Requa Tattoo in Nixa and a GPS system donated by Jack Henry and Associates.
Additional area businesses that will be donating for the cause include: Justin Boots and The Bayou Lunch Box in Monett; Heart and Home in Neosho; and C and S Cycle in Wheaton.
Doughnuts, donated by Bud's Donuts in Mt. Vernon, will be provided, along with coffee, to participants prior to the ride. Women from the Church of the Nazarene will continue their support by providing refreshments after the ride.
Participants are asked to bring a new, unwrapped toy, gift card or other appropriate item for children of all ages, including teens and tweens.
The donated toys and gift cards will be collected and turned over to Thornton to be distributed to local children during the holiday season.
The Toy Run is scheduled to kick off at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 10 at the Church of the Nazarene, which is located across from Race Brothers on Highway 37 in Monett.
"Rain or shine, the event will take place," said Updike. "We would like to invite everyone to join us on our annual ride."
Area businesses that would like to contribute to the cause are asked to contact Gary or Sue Updike at 417-442-3835, 417-669-3117 or 417-236-3019.