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|350 riders turn out for annual toy run|
More than 300 people participated Saturday in the 29th annual toy run hosted by the North Louisiana Motorcyclists for Kids.
The toy run is held each year throughout Monroe and West Monroe to gather Christmas items for local children and families.
All proceeds and donations from the event are given to the Salvation Army to benefit the needy during the holiday season.
Jimmy "Squirrel" Langston, president of the North Louisiana Motorcyclists for Kids, said he was overwhelmed by the support for this year's event.
"It turned out real good, with about 350 riders for this year's event," Langston said. "A lot of them are the same people who participate in this every year, and they look forward to it each year.
"We appreciate each and every individual who worked, participated and donated to this year's toy run," Langston continued. "We had a great turnout, and it's because of the efforts of each individual that this was a success."
People who participated in the toy run were required to bring one new toy and four canned goods, or a minimum of $10 to ride in the event.
The group gathered at American Outdoor Products on U.S. Highway 165 in north Monroe and traveled to Big Top restaurant in West Monroe to end the event.
Big Top provided riders with bowls of chili when they arrived.
State Police, Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Office and the Monroe and West Monroe police departments provided escorts for riders.
Langston's organization was able to give the Salvation Army $2,000 and "a whole van load of toys and canned goods."
"It was just great … we were able to give more this year because we had such a great turnout," Langston said. "We're looking forward to next year."
While North Louisiana Motorcyclists for Kids' annual toy run was completed over the weekend, Langston encouraged people to participate in the many upcoming toy drives being held throughout the region. He said toy drives will be held almost every weekend, leading up to Christmas.
"We encourage people to help someone's Christmas be even better," he said.
Langston also will accept more donations and toys until a few days before Christmas. All items will be given to the Salvation Army.
His shop, Squirrel's Motorcycles, is located at 1609 New Natchitoches Road in West Monroe. For more information, call Langston at 325-9578.