ABATE brings toys, cheer for hol­i­days

Dorchester Star - - REGIONAL -

EAS­TON — The mem­bers of the Mid-Shore Chap­ter of ABATE of MD Inc. are out de­liv­er­ing toys on dec­o­rated mo­tor­cy­cles again.

The or­ga­ni­za­tion pro­vides Christ­mas presents for some of the less for­tu­nate fam­i­lies in the area. The group chooses one or more char­i­ta­ble or­ga­ni­za­tions in a dif­fer­ent Mid-Shore county each year.

Most re­cently, they brought Christ­mas cheer to Queen Anne’s County Back­pack Fri­days, Dorch­ester County Early Head Start, St. Michaels Com­mu­nity Cen­ter and this year, they will split their toys be­tween two char­i­ties; The Wi­d­ows of War­riors Fund and Fed­er­als­burg Church of God.

The Toy Drive/Run is just one of the char­ity events for this or­ga­ni­za­tion each year, but it is usu­ally the most at­tended and sup­ported. This year’s event was Sun­day, Dec. 9.

Com­mit­tee Chair­man, Mar­i­anne Jack­son, said ap­prox­i­mately 1,500 new toys were pur­chased and delivered to Mid-Shore char­i­ties in the last four years, and they do it by fol­low­ing their “sleigh” on their mo­tor­cy­cles.

“It’s one of the best things we do all year and the par­tic­i­pa­tion is amaz­ing, es­pe­cially since it’s more than a lit­tle chilly here on a mo­tor­cy­cle in De­cem­ber,” she said.

Jack­son said that this is made pos­si­ble by gen­er­ous do­na­tions from their mem­bers, their friends and fam­i­lies and lo­cal busi­nesses. Co­or­di­nat­ing all of this is a “la­bor of love” and Jack­son can­not wait to “get (her) liv­ing room back” but she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“We pro­vide toys to our ben­e­fi­cia­ries and ask that they al­low the par­ents to “shop” for the items they want their chil­dren to re­ceive,” Jack­son said. “This al­lows the par­ents to feel the joy of giv­ing and not just re­ceiv­ing. Em­pow­er­ing the par­ents is big for us. We want to pro­vide a hand up, not just a hand out”.

In ad­di­tion to pro­vid­ing five or more presents per child, MidShore ABATE also pro­vides house­hold sup­plies for each of their homes that they other­wise might not be able to pur­chase. These items help keep the kids and their care­givers healthy.

“Through the gen­eros­ity of so many, this year we are also able to pro­vide each Wi­d­ows of War­riors home with presents for the sur viv­ing par­ent, such as gift cer­tifi­cates for hair­cuts, man­i­cures, pedi­cures, and more,” she said.

Jack­son said she could not pull this off with­out the help of many “elves” in the Mid-Shore area. In years past, other or­ga­ni­za­tions have joined in to help and this year was no ex­cep­tion.

ABATE would like to thank all who con­trib­uted and rode with them.

“Last year was cold. The year be­fore that was colder. We just ex­pect it to be cold. I am al­ways amazed at how many peo­ple show up, with dec­o­rated bikes no less,” she said.

The dec­o­rated bikes are just for fun and they have learned to choose their dec­o­ra­tions care­fully, so they can with­stand 50 mph or more.

“Zip ties and plas­tic dec­o­ra­tions are a must!” she said.

The Mid-Shore Chap­ter of ABATE of MD, Inc. do­nates many hours and dol­lars to lo­cal char­i­ties each year and this, they say, is the most fun and in the words of one mem­ber, “Noth­ing I do all year feels bet­ter than this.”

Mid-Shore Chap­ter of ABATE of MD, Inc. is the lo­cal chap­ter of a state-wide mo­tor­cy­cle safety and aware­ness or­ga­ni­za­tion. It cov­ers Tal­bot, Caro­line, Queen Anne’s and Dorch­ester coun­ties and rep­re­sents all types of mo­tor­cy­cle riders. For more in­for­ma­tion about ABATE or to get in­volved, con­tact Ken Ea­ton at 410-924-3374.

The toy run makes its first stop at Wi­d­ows of War­riors fund in Eas­ton.

Par­tic­i­pants of Sun­day’s ABATE Toy Drive showed up to de­liver toys in be­low freez­ing temperatures.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHO­TOS

Santa Claus and Mar­i­anne Jack­son lead the way for the Toy Run.

Santa Claus and Ja­son Bell, founder of Wi­d­ows of War­riors fund.

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