Newton hosts annual Toy Run event

Mateya McCord, Reporter

Every year around the holidays many motorcyclists and other vehicles join together to help kids in need. The annual toy run event was held on Nov. 14, and motorcyclists met at Chisholm Trail Shopping Center to start riding throughout town. The lineup of all of the motorcycles started at noon, and the ride began officially at 1 p.m. All proceeds from the toy run benefit children in need in Harvey County through the Salvation Army. 

All motor cyclists go through the same routes in town and end at the American Legion. Families were encouraged to come watch the parade and visit with Santa and the event proved to be engaging for all ages. At the end of the parade, in the Legion building there were buttons and chili for families and participants. A purchase of a button was an automatic entry to the $100 raffle.

According to Harvey County Coordiner of the Salvation Army Wendy Basye, each year approximately 25 volunteers help her to host the toy run. Basye says she enjoys working the toy run and seeing smiles on families and kids faces throughout the event. 

I am one of the coordinators of the toy run and work alongside Bill Ryan [who] is the one that heads it up. I have been working side by side with Bill for nine years now when it comes to the toy run. I enjoy seeing all the bikers and how the community comes together to help bring Christmas to those families in our community that are in need,” Basye said. “Each year my dad dresses up as Santa and it brings him joy to bring smiles to the bikers and kids faces. This year my father in law drove Santa on his antique fire truck, so it is kind of like a family event.”

While COVID affected many events in 2020, the pandemic did not affect the toy run as much. Bayse says that since the toy run is outside and most of the time everyone is separated, COVID did not affect it. 

“Last year was the same as this year, because the toy run is always outside. The biggest difference was last year and this year we did not have shirts to sell or have an auction like we have in the past,” Basye said. 

The toy run is always successful and this year there were 260 riders and over 300 gifts collected for the kids. Basye says that everyone that participated in the toy run did so for the kids in the Newton community in order to make a memorable holiday season for the less fortunate. 

We couldn’t do it all on our own without the help of all of our volunteers and Rent-a-Center for the use of their truck to transport the toys back to the church to get ready to hand out for Christmas,” Basye said.