Bikers and YMCA add joy to the holiday season

The OlympianDecember 16, 2013 

It was hard to see the motorcycle of this Biker-Santa clad in red and green and covered with plush reindeer and a snowman during the the annual ABATE motorcycle toy run as hundreds of merry bikers thundered from Lacey's South Sound Mall to Olympia's Marathon park Saturday 12/7/13. The charity event which draws bikers from across the Puget Sound provides toys for needy families and children at Christmas time.

FILE PHOTO

YAY: TOY RUN

It’s always a sight to behold: Thousands of bikers on motorcycles stuffed with toys and adorned for the holidays, parading through the streets of Olympia in the annual Olympia Toy Run.

Dec. 7 marked the 37th year that riders from all over South Sound and beyond rumbled through town on their toy delivery for needy children. The event attracted some 9,000 bikers who collectively donate more than $200,000 worth of toys to benefit children in the South Sound region.

Thanks to all who participated: Some smiling young faces Christmas morning will be your reward.

YAY: YMCA PARTY

The Community Christmas Celebration at the Olympia downtown YMCA Dec. 6 was a free, family event hosted by YMCA members and enjoyed by some 160 low-income families and more than 500 individuals. The event was modeled after a typical YMCA family night with arts, crafts, games and an open swim. In addition, every child in need received a gift from Santa and, just as cool, got to choose and wrap a gift for a family member. Wait, there’s more: each family who needed them received much needed Christmas items such as scarves, mittens, shirts, toiletries, cocoa, stocking stuffers and other goodies.

This marked the YMCA’s fourth annual Christmas party for disadvantaged youth in the community. Here’s hoping for many more.

BOO: ROAD CREW CHIEFS

When public employees are sent to conferences, workshops or training sessions, they are expected to attend. That wasn’t the case recently for three longtime employees of the Thurston County public works department. They skipped out of the training courses they were supposed to attend at the American Public Works Association fall conference in Bend, Ore. It’s actions like this that lead to the public viewing conferences as junkets and a waste of taxpayer dollars.

The guilty parties were suspended from their jobs for six days without pay. Let that be a reminder to anyone tempted to turn out-of-town, work-related trips into play time: It won’t be tolerated.

YAY: FIREWORKS SHOW

The Twin Star Credit Union and Xerox Corp. have stepped into the void and agreed to sponsor the city of Lacey’s annual July 3 fireworks show. After one dark year, the display is set for 2014 at William A. Bush Park on Yelm Highway with public viewing from the Lacey Crossroads Shopping Center across from the park.

YAY: HELPING ANIMALS

It’s natural to think about less fortunate families at this time of year and contribute to food banks, foster children programs and other charities. But we don’t often think about the pets that also reside in those homes. The local Concern for Animals nonprofit is seeking donations, monetary and otherwise – pet food, leashes, cat litter, etc. – to help financially challenged families keep their pets healthy, and at home. Go to concernforanimals.org for a list of items and where you can donate them.

YAY: GEAR FOR DOGS

Several South Sound fire departments recently benefitted from the largesse of Invisible Fence Northwest, which donated 19 animal rescue oxygen masks for firefighters to use during fires and emergencies to help save pets in distress. The masks, which are designed to help dogs suffering from smoke inhalation, can also be used on other pets, including birds and gerbils.

Receiving the kits were the West Thurston Regional Fire Authority, Southeast Thurston Fire Authority, Tenino Fire District 12 and East Olympia Fire District 6.

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