Many local children will have a happier holiday in 2020 thanks to the efforts of local motorcycle clubs and their Motorcycle Toy Run. North Star Alaska Bikers for Awareness Training and Education sponsored the event and delivered four boxes of toys last weekend to Santa’s Helpers.
The donation followed a day of riding from business to business, picking up community donations. The motorcycle run provided a fun get together and a good deed for the community.
According to Heidi Fulton, vice-president of North Star ABATE, local groups who contributed to this effort include Fairbanks Hells Angels MC, Far North Alaska Vets MC, Bush Riders MC, Asylum RC, Christian Motorcycle Association and The Diamond Girls MC. Four bags of toys were also donated by The Ascendants of Alaska RC from Anchorage.
ABATE is a group of motorcycle enthusiasts from all walks of life who love motorcycles and enjoy riding them. Members include sport bike riders, dual sport riders, offroad riders and cruisers.
The group keeps members informed of legislative issues affecting motorcycles, promotes legislation favorable to motorcyclists, promotes rider training to model safe and responsible riders and educates motorists to safely share the road with motorcyclists.
Bill Hunt, the self-described “Santa of Santa’s Helpers,” was on hand to officially accept the donations for Santa’s Helpers.
Santa’s Helpers has been helping local families in need for the past six years. The organization operates under the umbrella of the North Pole Community Coalition. It was founded after Santa’s Clearinghouse closed its doors — but the philosophy remains the same: neighbors helping neighbors.
The group collects toys and cash donations and helps hundreds of families every holiday season.
Stand Down services
The annual Stand Down event for veterans won’t happen this year because of the coronavirus, but some of the services will still be offered, just in a different way.
The longtime event provides needed medical, optical and dental screening, information about veteran benefits, and other services for veterans in Interior Alaska. The gathering also serves as a reunion for all veterans who attend.
In 2019, 382 veterans participated in the 21st annual event.
Here is how veterans can still benefit from services usually offered by Stand Down.
Clothing will be issued to homeless veterans from the Vet Center at a date to be announced. Call Brad Bunnell at 456-4238 for updates.
Dental, Optical and Medical funding will be provided for those who were screened in 2019. Those veterans will be notified or they can call Nancy Smoyer at 479-7940 to confirm.
VA Benefits (health care, disability compensation, etc.) or VA Health Care ID card information is available from Phil Hokenson at 907-370-1418.
Blood Tests can be done by appointment with the Alaska Health Fair at 907-374-6853.
Reach columnist/community editor Kris Capps at kcapps@newsminer. com. Follow her on Twitter@ FDNMKris