15th annual Eldridge Toy Run set for Dec. 2

By ELANE JONES, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 11/25/17

On the first Saturday in December for the past 15 years, all roads in Alabama have led to Eldridge as hundreds of motorcycle and antique car enthusiasts from all over Alabama, Mississippi and points beyond come together for the annual Eldridge Toy Run.

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15th annual Eldridge Toy Run set for Dec. 2

Posted

On the first Saturday in December for the past 15 years, all roads in Alabama have led to Eldridge as hundreds of motorcycle and antique car enthusiasts from all over Alabama, Mississippi and points beyond come together for the annual Eldridge Toy Run.

The event is held each year to help raise money for the Free Will Baptist Children’s Home in Eldridge. And since the event’s inception in 2002, members of the Eldridge Benefit Team from Northwest Alabama and Northeast Mississippi have been joining hands with the Eldridge community to not only lend their support, but also help raise awareness of the Eldridge Children’s Home.

More than 1,500 people gather together at the Children’s Home each year for this special Christmas event.

But this is not your ordinary toy run, because the participants do not actually collect toys. One of the Walker County coordinators for the annual ride, Steve Odom, said the Eldridge Benefit Team collects gift cards and monetary donations to help sustain the Children’s Home for the entire year.

“The Eldridge Benefit Team present gifts to all the children from their own Christmas ‘wish list,’” Odom said. “But we also help raise money to help support the Children’s Home financially throughout the year. We collected over $100,000 in donations last year, making it our biggest year to date. And we’re hoping we’ll raise even more this year.”

The Eldridge Free Will Baptist Children’s Home is located just off U.S. Highway 78 and Alabama Highway 13 in northwest Alabama. It has been in operation since 1948 and operates solely on donations it receives from area churches, civic groups, businesses and individuals, who volunteer to lend both a hand in services and financial support.

The home averages about 30 children, from all age groups, who are educated in public schools and raised in homes on the campus of the Children’s Home. The children also participate in school activities, summer trips and outings and attend church locally.

Rain or shine, hot or cold, riders from across the entire Southeast will arrive from all directions Saturday, Dec. 2, to help make this on-site benefit happen.

“This event enables you to see where and how your donations are used. So all of us with the Eldridge Benefit Team invites you to bring your riding group and meet the children at Eldridge Children’s Home,” Odom said. “We guarantee you will leave with a warm heart for your ride home.”

Riders who would like to participate in the annual toy run are encouraged to bring “gift cards” from any retail outlet of their choice or give monetary donations via cash or checks made payable to the Eldridge Children’s Home. All contributions are tax deductible. Riders are also asked to collect outside monetary donations from their non-riding friends and associates.

Participants living in Walker County or its surrounding areas can join the escorted ride from Sumiton and Jasper to the Eldridge Children’s Home on Saturday, Dec. 2, at the following locations and specific times listed below.

•Sumiton — ALFA office near Walmart. Kickstands up at 10 a.m. For more information, call Greg Clark at 205-275-8087 or email gclark@alfains.com.

•Jasper — Parkland Shopping Center. Kickstands up around 10:30 a.m. For more information, call Steve Odom at 205-295-8250 or email Modos2774@aol.com. You can also call Brenda Williams at 205-275-8961.

Other staging locations throughout central Alabama will be held in Winfield, Sulligent, Hamilton and Tuscaloosa where riders interested in participating in the Eldridge Toy Run can join the ride. Non-riders may also make a donation to the Eldridge Toy Run by mailing a check or money order to the Eldridge Children’s Home,P.O. Box 73, Eldridge, AL 35554. All donations are tax deductible.

An antique and classic car and truck show will also be held at the Eldridge Children’s Home Saturday in conjunction with the Eldridge Toy Run. The car/truck show will begin at 10 a.m., and anyone interested in entering can do so by simply making a donation to the Children’s Home or by donating a gift card. For more information on the car and truck show, call Tim or Shirley Ganey at 205-412-2868 or email trganey@yahoo.com or shirlganey@yahoo.com.

Lunch will be provided at the Children’s Home for all who participate in the annual toy run. The lunch and program will be held on the campus of the Children’s Home.

For more information on the 14th Annual “All Roads Lead To Eldridge” Toy Run, visit www.echbenefit.com or facebook. com/echbenefit.