Still there for the tots

THERE’S NO WAY SANTA CLAUS would miss the annual Toys 4 Tots Fun Run, which will go on as scheduled on July 25. Tracy Area Headlight Herald file photo

Kickstands will be up as usual on July 25 for the 28th annual Toys 4 Tots Motorcycle Fun Run. The only difference in this year of COVID-19 is that there is no chance organizers can raise as much money for Heart to Heart and other groups as they have in past years.

“We’re not gonna raise as much money as we have in the past, because we’re not soliciting because a lot of businesses were shut down for how long,” said Tam Schons, one of the organizers of the annual event. “We’re not gonna ask businesses to help out when they might need help themselves.”

Still, “Heart to Heart relies on this — when they get that much money donated from us, and if they don’t get any of it, it’s hard to recover from that,” Schons added.

Once again, those taking part will meet at the Roaring Lyons Clubhouse in Amiret. Registration ($15, plus a toy) is from 9:30-10:45 a.m. on July 25, with riders hitting the road en route to The Gambler (back parking lot) in Marshall. As usual, the event culminates at 6 p.m. at The Caboose in Tracy, which like other eating establishments, practices social distancing.

The Caboose will host a hog roast and other fun events, including a silent auction, after the Run.

This year’s run will take participants from Amiret to Marshall, then to Wood Lake, to Redwood Falls, to Comfrey, to Breezy Barn, then to The Caboose. There will be just one route this year, as opposed to two separate routes.

“We didn’t know how many people to expect,” Schons said.

Schons said all bars/restaurants along the route have outdoor accommodations to promote social distancing.

“We talked with the participating bars and asked them what they thought — because people want to get out and do things,” she said. “The bars and restaurants are doing the COVID thing — 6 feet apart, that kind of stuff.

Donations this year will go to Heart to Heart, the Murray County Christmas Project, Share the Spirit in Redwood Falls, Santa’s Sleigh in Yellow Medicine County and Operation Christmas Joy in Springfield.

Schons said Toys 4 Tots has raised some $10,000 in each of the last two years for Heart to Heart, and has donated about $1,000 to other groups.

“We’re not gonna be able to do that this year, but at least we can help out with something,” she said. “People count on this every year — this would be a huge thing for them to miss. This wouldn’t be possible without all the people who help sponsor Toys 4 Tots — all the businesses that help us out. We wouldn’t be able to do it without them.”

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.