Butler Electric Cooperative (BEC) joins over 50 organizations in sponsoring this year's Butler County Toy Run. They donated $500 on Friday, Sept. 29 for the event.
"Butler Electric Cooperative is partnering with the toy run to be good stewards of our members' participation in Operation Roundup," Sarah Madden, office manager at BEC, said.
Operation Roundup is a program BEC members can opt into that rounds up their bills to the next nearest dollar. BEC then donates the money collected from the rounding to charities, nonprofits and people who need help paying their bill.
2017 marks the 25th anniversary for the toy run, which will be held Oct. 7 at the 4-H building in El Dorado. The Butler County Toy Run benefits kids during Christmastime, and it's organized by District 8 of A.B.A.T.E. – a motorcyclist group that looks out for rider rights. Charles "Mick" Jimenez is the Butler County representative for the district.
After covering the cost of putting on the toy run, monetary donations will mostly go to The Salvation Army – with some possibly going to Saint Francis Community Services in El Dorado. Toy run sponsors are recognized with their names on the back of the event t-shirt, and some will get a plaque. Sponsors can donate door prizes for the event as well. Donations of toys and non-perishable food items will be given to The Salvation Army, and people can drop off donations all day.
The toy run will begin at 10 a.m. and last until 5 or 6 p.m. Riders for the event will pull out on their bikes at 11 a.m. for the 75-mile ride around Butler County, returning to the 4-H building around 1 or 1:30 p.m. Messiah's Messengers, the local chapter of the Christian Motorcyclists Association (CMA), will dress up as Santa Claus and his elves for the ride, and the Butler County Sheriff's Department will lead the riders. When they get back, activities such as the chili feed, door prizes and auction will begin.
"You know, [we want to] get the community to know there's bikers around, and they're good people. They're not thugs .... They're your neighbors. That's how this got started in the first place – people in the community wanted to help out The Salvation Army," Jimenez said.