Santa’s always jolly anyway, but he had extra reason to smile following the annual Christmas Toy Run motorcycle parade hosted by Harley-Davidson of Carroll on Sunday, Oct. 4.
“I think there were more than usual on the ride this year. It was a real nice ride, and it was a nice day to go for a ride, having all the people here,” said Santa, who rode a 2018 Harley Tri Glide beginning on the sunny, warm afternoon at the shop on Highway 30 East, north to the New Hope campus, across town to Quint Avenue and returning via Ninth Street through Graham Park.
Parade participants really did Santa’s heart good by bringing Christmas gifts for donation to New Opportunities Family Development Center in Carroll to provide to children throughout Carroll County. A donation box at the entrance to the showroom and store overflowed with basketballs, footballs, toys, games and dolls.
“That should make kids happy,” said Santa, who bears a striking resemblance to Stan Gibson of Scranton, who worked at the former Crouse Cartage for 25 years.
Terry Ruchti, Harley-Davidson of Carroll owner, believes the Toy Run tradition began 25 to 30 years ago when the shop was located on West Eighth Street before moving to its current location 20 years ago.
“I can’t say enough about the motorcyclists who come out and participate with us and make this a great time,” Ruchti said. “It just feels good to be able to do this. We thank everybody for showing up and enjoying the Toy Ride, helping us make somebody’s Christmas a little better, a little more special.”
RoAnn Kofron, New Opportunities Family Development Center coordinator, said of the Toy Run, “It’s a huge drive for us. It’s a great start to getting gifts for the Christmas season.”
In 2019, New Opportunities provided gifts to 309 children from newborns through 14-year-olds, and Kofron expects requests to be up this year due to economic suffering from the coronavirus pandemic.
New Opportunities soon will begin accepting families’ requests for assistance with gifts.
The community can step up different ways to help fulfill children’s wishes. They include:
— New Opportunities can match up donors with families in an adopt-a-family program.
— Giving Trees with cards listing children’s gift requests will be set up at Bomgaars store and the Family Development Center, 23751 Highway 30 East.
— Gift donation boxes at Bomgaars, Dollar Tree, Walgreens and Family Development Center, all in Carroll; City Hall and Glidden Grocery, both in Glidden.
People also can send checks, designated for Christmas gifts, to New Opportunities Family Development Center, 23751 Highway 30 East, Carroll, IA 51401.
Money donations help purchase gifts for older children, who prefer to receive clothing or other items instead of toys, Kofron said.