The local Freedom Seekers Motorcycle Club kicked off their 13th annual Tifton Toy Run early Saturday afternoon.
A large crowd of bikers met in the parking lot of Tifton Harley-Davidson that morning before participating in the “toy run”. Officers with the Tifton Police Department escorted them as they exited the parking lot on their motorcycles heading towards U.S. Highway 319 to U.S. Highway 82, Tift Avenue and then concluded at their clubhouse on Third Street.
Greg Nelson, president of the local club, and Richard Hall, vice president of the local club, said approximately 130 bikers from as far as Alabama, Atlanta, Macon and Columbus came out to participate in the ride. These bikers consisted of members with several organizations, including those with the local club and other Freedom Seekers Motorcycle Club chapters — there are four in the state of Georgia.
“We welcome the general public. They help out the most. We’re here to bring the community together, to enjoy life and do a good cause and make people smile,” Nelson stated.
For 13 years, Freedom Seekers have been giving out new, unwrapped toys to local children who are need. Nelson explained that usually in September, they begin gathering a list of names from local schools of those students age nine or 10 and below who are in need. Once they have those names, the students’ parents are then contacted.
He said the parents are informed about the toy drive and are invited to attend the Tifton Toy Run Christmas Party, where their child will receive a bag of toys, meet Santa Claus, enjoy a free meal and “have a good time”. This year’s party will be held later this month at the Leroy Rogers Senior Center.
“The kids enjoy it,” Nelson stated, adding that he and the members enjoy it as well. “We want to make some kids happy, and this is our way of giving to them. It’s nice to see them have something.”
He stated that Tifton H-D is a big help; they purchase many toys for the toy drive. He said the club would also like to thank the TPD for their help in escorting them every year.
The Freedom Seekers Motorcycle Club has been in existence since 1975, but the local chapter didn’t start until 1985.
Nelson said there is still time to make a donation for the toy drive. Sponsors are recognized with their names being printed on the back of T-shirts.
Anyone interested in donating a new, unwrapped toy or to make a monetary donation, or for those who would like to help next year, contact Nelson at 392-3236.
“We want to help it grow,” Nelson said.