It will begin to look a lot like Christmas at the Bakersfield Harley-Davidson soon, as the Bakersfield Toy Run prepares to hold their 37th Annual Toy Run and Canned Food Drive there in just a month.
“At Christmastime, people have to choose: either pay my PG&E bill, or buy Christmas presents, said Ben Patten, who is on the Board of Directors of the Bakersfield Toy Run. “Well fortunately, the Salvation Army, that’s what they do: They step up, and this biker community of Bakersfield, they step way up.”
Patten said they were willing to step up, rain or shine, literally. At last year’s Bakersfield Toy Run, as many as 2000 motorcycle riders showed up to donate toys
to the kids of Kern County in need while it was pouring outside.
“For me, and I think for a lot of the bikers, it’s about going to a local store, buying a toy, knowing that that is going to go to a kid that otherwise wouldn’t,” Patten said. “I know I spoil my grandkids rotten, and I’m sure that’s the feeling in most of us.”
An unexpected force of nature a year later, a worldwide health crisis, made them wonder if they’d still hold their 37th annual drive. But Patten said the toy run realized it only meant the need would be greater this Christmas.
“In the board meetings, we couldn’t let that die. It had to happen again. That’s why you’ll see the T-shirts, and there’s a limited amount of T-shirts, we have a reindeer on the front, and he’s wearing a mask,” Patten said. “It’s just the COVID-19 edition!”
The event will take place December 11 through 13 at the Bakersfield Harley-Davidson from 9 to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 7 to 7 p.m. on Sunday. You can bring an unwrapped toy and two cans of food or a 20 dollar cash donation. In return, you’ll be entered into a raffle drawing for a 500 dollar Harley-Davidson gift card.
Patten adds that they’ll set up pop-ups on the south side of the building and two lanes of traffic for riders.
“We won’t do any mass gatherings, or anything like that,” Patten explained. “We’re hoping that people, just like in years past, will go out to breakfast and come and do the drive thru here.”
Patten says there will be donation boxes outside the Bakersfield Harley-Davidson starting December 1st. There may be some around the community as well. We’ll update you on what the toy run is specifically looking for as we draw closer to the event.