Santa rides in summer
ANDY LEIBENGUTH/TIMES NEWS Santa Claus with 20 biker elves prepare to depart on their Schaeffer's Harley-Davidson's Christmas in July Toy Run.
Santa and moree than 20 other biker elves rode through Schuylkill County's countryside during Schaeffer's Harley-Davidson's Fifth Annual Christmas in July Toy Run that resulted on over 100 new toys to benefit Access Services of Schuylkill, Carbon and Berks counties.
The hour-long toy run ended at Access Services' Orwigsburg office, 340 S. Liberty St., where donated toys were given to staff members. Access Services provides services to adults and children with special needs, including in-home supports, respite care services, life-sharing through family living, wraparound services and LIFE day support. In addition, its mental health wellness center provides evaluation, diagnosis and counseling to more than 800 residents monthly.
"What we do goes back into the community," said Jane Mickonis, Life-Sharing program supervisor.
Denise Calderone, Schaeffer's Harley-Davidson advertising coordinator, said, "Over 100 new, unwrapped toys were loaded into motorcycle sidecars to go along with Santa as he rode through the Schuylkill County countryside." All toy donations benefit needy children and young adults with developmental disabilities and special needs. The toys are used throughout the year as rewards for clients. "Toys are also used in our outpatient counseling program," said Sheila Davison, regional coordinator and vice president, Access Services. "All riders donating toys also received a discount coupon for the store," said Denise Calderone, Schaeffer's Harley-Davidson advertising coordinator and toy run organizer.
Calderone pointed out that although not all area riders could make it to the event, people had dropped off toys throughout the weeks leading up to the event. Any remaining toys at the end of the year are given to clients around Christmas time.
Rob Reid, President and CEO, Access Services, said following the run, "Access Service's desire is to provide support to all area children and their families." Reid also stressed his appreciation to all the
volunteers, riders and staff that put the event together. Calderone added, "The riders were very generous and the children look forward to getting new toys."
Paul Angstadt of the Deer Lake H.O.G., chapter of the Harley's Owners Group, who also donned the Santa Claus suit this year, said, "The toy run is always popular with the bikers. I think it's just a great thing that they do this for Access every year for the kids." Angstadt added, "It gives them something to look forward to halfway through the year."
"In addition to Santa, all the biker elves are our heroes today," added Davison.
Patty Weston drove from her home in Stewartsville, N.J., to take part in the toy run. When asked why she did it, Weston simply said, To help the kids, of course."