Tis the season to give! Today more than 6,000 bikers turned out to the 32nd annual Bakersfield Toy Run. The event benefits the Salvation Army of Kern County.
Last year more than 6,000 bikers donated food and toys, benefiting more than 200 local families. Officials expected to surpass the 6,000 bikers and said this year they have 600 families in need.
"It just exploded to what it is today," said Ben Patten a committee member for the toy run.
"I really did not ever believe I would see the run this size in my lifetime," said Ben Atkinson of The Salvation Army.
People of all ages joined in, all with the same goal: help those in need.
"I feel bad for them, that they don't really have Christmas presents to open and we need to give them Christmas presents," said Kye Fallgatter.
The families selected by The Salvation Army will receive at least two toys per child, maybe more if enough are donated. Each family in need will also receive, "A box of groceries so their family so they can have more than just a Christmas meal," said Atkinson.
Teddy bears and toys were strapped on to bike as the thousands of riders took off for the official toy drive parade.
Members said the ongoing tradition is necessary to help those who are in need.
"This is our opportunity to make sure the children that aren't ours, that aren't our grandchildren, have Christmas too," said Patten.
The Salvation army will distribute all of the food and toys donated to needy families here in Kern County.