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Local bikers help define season

Posted: December 24, 2013 5:51 p.m.
Updated: December 24, 2013 5:51 p.m.

Fifty brand new bicycles were donated to the Skid Row Toy Run this year by Canyon Country Chapter 101 of the Boozefighters Motorcycle Club. Photo courtesy of Betsy Huelskamp.

 

The term “Skid Row” unfortunately defines much of the downtown L.A. area. People live there. Families struggle there. Children are raised there.

But amid the socio-economic bleakness of Skid Row, another definition arises. It is the definition of just what this holiday time of year is truly about.

For 26 years, the Fred Jordan Mission in the heart of downtown has coordinated what has become known as the Skid Row Toy Run. The event supplies holiday gifts to the underprivileged kids being brought up along some of Southern California’s meanest streets.

Working with the Fred Jordan Mission throughout the years has been our local chapter 101 of the legendary Boozefighters Motorcycle Club.

From their clubhouse in Canyon Country, the Boozefighters have made it a special goal to charitably support this community.

With military roots and a history that dates back to World War II, the club has focused much of its giving on many veterans’ causes, but every holiday season it’s all about the children.

Each year as the Skid Row Toy Run gets closer, the club kicks into gear, purchasing shiny new bicycles to be given away in the inner-city shadows of concrete and asphalt.

This year the Boozefighters loaded up a trailer with 50 bikes and a million smiles and headed downtown.

What makes this toy run different from many others is the immediate joy of seeing the kids actually riding off on those bicycles or being personally handed a toy.

“You see their faces light up when they see the tables lined up, stacked with toys,” said one Boozefighter. “And you see their eyes get real wide when they see all those new bicycles lined up.”

Besides the contributions of the Boozefighters and other motorcycle clubs, toys are donated from the many riders who assemble at Glendale Harley-Davidson and other locations to parade into downtown, once again demonstrating the incredible generosity of the entire motorcycle brotherhood.

“Skid Row” may define some tough times and even tougher areas, but clubs like the Boozefighters chapter 101 define something even more powerful: the human and caring essence of this magical season.

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