‘Tis the season of giving and in that spirit the Lloydminster chapter of the Harley Owners Group (HOG) recently presented a generous cheque to Big Brothers/Big Sisters. The money for the cheque was raised at the HOG annual Toy Run that was held earlier this year.
“It’s a fairly big ordeal,” said Jon Bunhai, HOG Toy Run chairman. “We raised $60,000 this year plus about $6,000 in toys.”
Other recipients of the money raised at the Toy Run are the Salvation Army and KidSport Lloydminster. Toys were also donated to Big Brothers Big Sisters as well as The Goat Christmas Wish, Lloyd FM’s toy drive and the Ronald McDonald Houses in both Edmonton and Saskatoon.
The Toy Run, in its fourth year now, originally donated to just one charity their first time around. Moving forward, however, they decided to put a couple more on their list.
“The first year was Salvation Army only and the second year we decided to add a few more charities just to try to reach out to a few more people,” said Bunhai. “We added KidSport and Big Brothers, so yeah, we’ve donated to them three years in a row now and we pretty much doubled the money from last year.
“Our group, with this toy run, has raised over $100,000 in the last four years.”
Bunhai was a Big Brother with the organization for a couple years and said others in HOG are heavily involved with them. “It’s just one of those things in Lloyd that’s a good thing to help,” he said.
The Toy Run has expanded year after year, and even though 2014 saw a few less riders than expected, it raised more funds than previous years. Bunhai said they’re planning for an even better turnout next time and hopes to see it continue to grow.
“This year, our number was down and I think it was 140-some riders, around there. The weather wasn’t the best, that was a contributor to that I think.” he said. “It’s getting very big and we’re hoping to plan for even bigger next year.”
As much as the event is about the riders and donators, Bunhai said none of it would be possible without the sponsors who help make it all happen.
“The majority of the money comes from the sponsorship, so without them we wouldn’t have an event,” he said. “So, I just really want to extend a thanks out to them. And then, of course, to all the people that helped put it on and all the people who came and enjoyed the day.”