Ghost Riders of McDowell raise over $11,600 in toy run

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(pics) --- Riding through the holiday season, McDowell’s motorcycle club chapter collaborated with a Marion church to raise money and deliver gifts to over 139 kids this year.

In their seventh annual toy run, members of the Ghost Riders Motorcycle Club raised close to $11,700 to help buy Christmas gifts to children in need.

Teaming with churches and other organizations for each toy run, this year the McDowell County chapter of the Ghost Riders Club collaborated with New Manna Baptist Church to organize the drive and worked in tandem with local businesses to gather proceeds.

“There’s been a lot of local businesses – I mean, everything here’s always been local,” said James “Jacktown” Johnson, vice president and founding member of the McDowell chapter. “We’ve got Bruce’s Fabulous Foods, (Mr.) Bob’s Donuts, Hwy 55, Sunkissed Tanning, Bantam Chef, one of our biggest supporters since we started.”

Becca Shirley of New Manna Baptist Church spoke of the church’s involvement with the toy drive, having been asked by the Ghost Riders to collaborate as the host church at the start of November.

“We were excited about the possibility of working with the Ghost Riders,” said Shirley. “We were honored to be a part of it. A lot of our kids at the school helped with the wrapping and stuff, and it was just a good experience for all of us.”

According to Shirley, the Ghost Riders raised over 95 percent of the money and donations for – as of Friday afternoon’s estimates – 139 children, while the church handled part of the purchasing and organizational aspects.

“They did a lot of the hard leg work,” said Shirley.

 

Hanging up fliers around the county for parents to call in with gift and clothing requests, the Ghost Riders started their toy run on Dec.1 and during that time, managing to collect $11,665.73 to purchase gifts, along with thousands of dollars’ worth of pre-purchased donated clothes and toys – including ten bicycles donated by Tom Johnson Camping World – to give to those in need, with gifts being delivered either in person since then or picked up by families at New Manna.

“We went to Walmart four or five times this year, and we raised more money this year than we have any other year, so this hit our record right here,” said Johnson. “So that’s a big plus.”

Based on the amount of money raised this year, a lot of the gifts, Shirley says, varied from electronics like Playstation 4s with headsets and game cards, iPads and laptops to sports-related gifts such as basketball goals and tennis shoes.

“We can’t give enough thanks to all that donated either monetarily, gifts or time to help those here at home,” said Johnson. “Bless them all and I pray that they all have a Merry Christmas as these children and families do.”

For more information about the McDowell chapter of the Ghost Riders Motorcycle Club, go to the McDowell County NC GRMC Facebook page.

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