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Toy run planned to benefit kids

Hours before the candy comes out Sunday for little trick-or-treaters, a Tri-City motorcycle riding club wants people to think about other children who may be less fortunate during the upcoming holidays.

The annual Children's Toy Run kicks into gear in West Richland, with riders and spectators asked to donate a new but unwrapped stuffed animal, toy or game.

The event, in its 17th year, is organized by Desert Thunder motorcycle club to collect gifts for kids for Christmas and those in crisis. About 400 riders participated last year.

"It's just really fun and it's a nice thing to do for all the kids," said Katie Seltzer, a member of the organizing committee and a rider. "Our club does a lot of different events to help out the community and animals and children, whatever needs it. And it's just really a good thing to do ... and it's really cool seeing all the bikes."

Sunday's event starts with a 10:30 a.m. social hour at Flat Top Park in West Richland. Coffee and doughnuts will be provided by the Christian Motorcyclists Association.

The ride gets under way at 11:30 a.m. with the toy-adorned motorcycles making their way through south Richland and Kennewick's Columbia Park, before heading over the cable bridge to the American Legion hall at 1029 W. Sylvester St. in Pasco.

Any rider is welcome to join in with no registration necessary. In previous years, motorcyclists from Walla Walla, Yakima and Wenatchee have participated.

Seltzer said they are hoping the rain holds off at least until the afternoon. Sunday's forecast is 60 degrees with sun, but also the possibility of showers.

"Hopefully, with the weather providing, we end up with a lot of toys so we can kind of spread it out," she said.

Spectators can watch the pack ride through Columbia Park sometime between 11:30 a.m. and noon, then join the festivities at the hall where food will be served.

"Quite a few people do get down there with their kids," Seltzer said.

Seven organizations or groups will benefit from this year's ride. They are: Community Action Committee; Park Middle School for Santa's Workshop; Domestic Violence Services of Benton & Franklin Counties; Safe Harbor Crisis Nursery; Columbia Basin Veterans Coalition; Kids Haven at the Sexual Assault Response Center; and Operation Thank You.

Tickets for a 50-50 drawing will be sold at the park and the hall at $5 for six, Seltzer said.

The winner will receive 50 percent of the pot while the other half will help pay for the cost of shipping toys overseas for Operation Thank You.

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