By Kim Steele
Harker Heights Herald
Motorcycles rumbled in the parking lot of First Baptist Church on Saturday morning as bikers readied for a toy run to collect new clothing and toys for disadvantaged Harker Heights children.
The toy run, part of the Kids in Our Community Toy Drive, is sponsored by Bread of Life Outreach Ministries at the church. The organization's first toy drive began with a breakfast at the church, a toy run to local businesses collecting toys and a barbecue lunch at Fort Hood Harley-Davidson.
Bikers participated from Chariots of Light, a motorcycle club at North Pointe Church in Copperas Cove; the Christian Motorcycle Association out of Killeen; Riders for the Families of the Wounded in Copperas Cove; and Bikers Against Child Abuse, which helps abused children in Bell County.
"I'm here because a toy run is a good idea when you're trying to help children," said Jay "Repent" Alexander of Chariots of Light. "There are Christian bikers, and we represent God and are a bridge to the community. We're trying to pass on the word (that) Jesus loves people, and so do we."
Organizer Lou Ferzacca said he already has a list of 160 Harker Heights children under age 10 who need clothes and toys. He hopes to provide them to families through donations to collection boxes in area businesses through Dec. 23. Gifts will be distributed to designated families on Dec. 24.
Ferzacca said the idea for a toy run and gift distribution in Harker Heights came from the monthly community luncheons the ministry started at the church eight months ago. Ferzacca said participants began sharing prayer requests and needs with the ministry.
Karen Taylor, assistant director of Bread of Life Outreach Ministries, said the community has responded to the toy drive. The breakfast featured a variety of food and beverages donated by local businesses, including donuts, coffee, chicken sandwiches and breakfast burritos.
"I'm looking forward to the day we give out the toys," she said. "It's going to be awesome to see the children's' faces. This ministry is outstanding. I know it's going to get bigger and better, and we will be able to help even more people in need."
Biker Dave Bandley of Riders for Families of the Wounded said he and his wife, Barb Bandley, decided to participate in the toy run after receiving a request from Ferzacca to organize it. Bandley said the motorcycle club usually chooses a family each year to help, but this year decided to assist the toy drive instead.
"We see lots of families in need and we understand what they're going through," said Dave Bandley. "I was in need myself at one point. We want to help the ones who really need it. Doing something like this alleviates a lot of strain on families, especially this time of year."
Dennis Ng, president of the Christian Motorcycle Association, said he was glad to participate in the toy run because it was for a good cause. Ng said his motorcycle club wants to help disadvantaged children so they have good memories of having a merry Christmas.
"We remember where we came from," said Ng. "And when you have much, you have a responsibility to give. The Lord has blessed us in so many ways, and we want to share what we have with others who need it."
Contact Kim Steele at email@example.com or (254) 501-7567.