The Salvation Army has 226 toys, 300 pounds of food and donations, totaling approximately $7,500 to help with their Christmas season thanks to the Butler County A.B.A.B.T.E. Toy Run, which was held in October.
“That is approximately a 25 percent increase from all of the first 20 years we have had that,” said Capt. Katie Pinkston, with the Salvation Army. “We want to thank the community for coming out and supporting the Butler County Toy Run, which made it an absolutely stellar year.
“It really allows for us to take care of the kids in Butler County, which has rapidly increased over the last four to five years.”
They are now serving 1,000 kids every year in the county, where in 2010 they only served about 300 to 400.
“We’re able to provide gifts for kids 18 and under throughout the entire Butler County,” Pinkston said. “Without the toy run we would not be able to provide for those kids 15 to 18 at all. It usually gives us a pretty big boost for our toy drive.”
The Toy Run drew 80-plus riders this year, in addition to a lot of support from area businesses.
“Each year we do better and better and better,” said Mick Jimenez, who organizes the Toy Run.
Pinkston said they would like to thank the local Christian Motorcycle Association, sheriff and police departments of Butler County, A.B.A.T.E. Toy Run Committee, A.B.A.T.E. District No. 8, M.J. Murphy LLC, Rob’s Carpet Service, Park Avenue Daycare in El Doardo, American Legion Post 81, HollyFrontier and Cowboy Boot Shop.
They also have volunteers who play Santa and the elves riding motorcycles, who make it an enjoyable experience.
One thing Jimenez pointed out was drivers need to be alert and aware of motorcycles on the road, one of the missions of A.B.A.T.E.
To help continue to make it bigger, they have formed a Toy Run Committee this year in hopes of getting even more of the communities in the county involved in the efforts.
This will be important going forward.
“We just found out we have less than five weeks to make $100,000,” Pinkston said. “It’s going to be 30 days total to raise it and in year’s past that has been almost 60 days.”
Requirements caused them to cut the time in have, but they still have all of the need.
They will be raising money through the red kettles and people donating money to the Salvation Army. The Salvation Army also will be selling pins for anyone donating $100, $50 or $20.
Page 2 of 2 - “We do have our angel tree sites up at Walmart in El Dorado and Augusta,” Pinkston said. “Anybody who wants to take a tag and purchase some items and return it to Walmart can do so. It will be up through Dec. 17.”
They also are in need of people to help bell ring. The kettles will start at Dillon stores throughout the county today and at Walmart stores the day after Thanksgiving.
One other event coming up in El Dorado is Fill the Truck Day Dec. 11. It will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is in partnership with USD 490, along with help from Chase Locke, El Dorado city commissioner.
Julie Clements can be reached at email@example.com.