Hundreds of bikers donate Christmas gifts to abused children
The only thing louder then the revving engines of hundreds of motorcycles are the cheers from children who are eagerly awaiting the gifts riders have with them.
"We're going to put a bunch of smiles on some kids faces. And, for a short time, take their minds off of the troubles that they've been through," Bobby Lasseter, an Austin Toy Run committee member, said.
Hundreds of bikers from across Central Texas braved the rain to ensure that dozens of abused children would have gifts this Christmas. It was part of the 28th annual Austin Motorcyclists Toy Run. Lasseter has been on the committee since 1999. He said the organization has been donating presents to the children of the Helping Hand Home in Central Austin for almost 30 years.
"The biker community, I just can't say enough. Rain or shine they are here to send a message of hope to abused children in Texas. On a rainy day, we're still going to have more than 250 to 300 bikers here," Ted Keyser, the executive director of Helping Hand Home, said.
Bikers such as Kelly Helm, a first time volunteer in Austin, said events like this are important because it helps show stereotypes can be broken.
"A lot of these kids feel like they are outside of society or they're not normal. So what we try to show them is that you can be outside of society, you can be that outlaw, and still have love and friends, and be a part of something that's greater than yourself," Helm said.
But more important than the presents given are the presence of hundreds that care.
"Just think, these kids don't have families. They are here, they miss their families despite the abuse and neglect. So we are their hope, we represent the hope they have during the holiday season," Keyser said.
"These kids have been through a lot and this group of people really wants them to know that there are people out there that really do care about them," Lasseter said.
If you would like to help or donate to the children, visit helpinghandhome.org.