Annual motorcycle toy run Sunday

Photo submitted by Donnie Washburn Members of the Tramps Motorcycle Club pose with Marietta Police officer AJ Linscott during a past toy run to raise money for children in the foster care program.

Thanks to an annual tradition that has been going on for 35 years, children in foster care won’t go without this Christmas.

The Tramps Motorcycle Club has been hosting its annual parade and toy run for several decades, according to Donnie Washburn, whose father, Buck McGowan, was a charter member of the group.

“Everything that we do has a purpose and we’re a small group but we’re active. We’ve never canceled this event,” he said.

The toy run will begin with a parade on Sunday starting at Kmart in Marietta. Everyone is invited to participate, in whatever mode of transportation they prefer. Cost to participate is $10 per person or one new, unwrapped toy.

A Marietta police officer will lead the procession, which will go down Pike Street to Third and down Muskingum Drive to Colegate Drive where it will end at the Marietta Elks Lodge.

“There we’ll have food and beverages, a silent auction and live auction and music,” Washburn said. “Our group is very family-oriented so children and families are invited and Santa will be there.”

The group has seen as few as four participants and as many as 150, depending on the weather. The participation obviously impacts how much money they will make but the goal is that every child in foster care gets something for Christmas.

“Currently we have 72 children in foster care but we have 40 new kids every month in the investigation unit that come across our desks,” said Alice Stewart, assistant director for Washington County Children Services.

Along with whatever money is raised, new unwrapped toys can be donated at the Elks, even if someone doesn’t participate in the parade or party. The money will be used by Children Services staff members to purchase Kmart gift cards.

“It’s just an amazing tradition that helps these kids so much,” said Stewart. “And it always feels like we can count on them to help provide Christmas. It really takes a village.”

If you go

¯ What: Tramps Motorcycle Club annual Toy Run.

¯ When: Sunday starting at 11:30 a.m.

¯ Where: Meet at Marietta Kmart, end at Marietta Elks Lodge, 414 Colegate Drive.

¯ Cost: $10 per person or unwrapped new toy of equal value. No stuffed animals.

¯ Who: Benefits Washington County Children Services

¯ For information: Donnie at 740-336-0651 or Eric at 304-580-9490.