Ghostrider Motorcycle Club to host annual Toy Drive at Walmart

Published 8:41 am Friday, November 2, 2018

The parking lot is filled with the revving of engines and men with black leather jackets. Their motorcycles stand out in the sea of cars in front of Walmart, but these guys are not here to cause trouble. They are here to help the needy.

The Ghostriders Motorcycle Club has been hosting the annual toy drive for at least five years.

Chief Enforcer Harley Thomas said the purpose of the toy drive is to provide children in need with a Christmas they are normally deprived of.

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“Kids can go from a less enjoyable Christmas to a happy one,” Thomas said.

The Ghostriders host the toy drive in front of the Elizabethton Walmart for the first two weekends in November. This year, those dates are November 3 and 4 and November 10 and 11.

“We really enjoy seeing the children’s faces when they get their toys,” Thomas said.

Thomas said people are often surprised to see a motorcycle club hosting a charity drive, but he said it is not such a novelty.

“Other clubs do them all the time,” Thomas said. “Other chapters, including our brothers in Johnson City, run charity stuff all the time.”

He said even though they may appear intimidating with their leather jackets and motorcycles, they really want to help one another.

“We are not the bad guys. We are the good guys,” Thomas said.

He said the most important thing is the residents of Carter County need to help one another.

“We need to stick together,” he said. “We need to stop working against each other and start working for each other.”

Thomas said he grew up less fortunate, and he appreciates the opportunity to put a smile on children’s faces.

The toys collected at the toy drive go to the Ghostrider clubhouse for the duration of the toy drive, and then the Elizabethton Housing Association picks them up and delivers them to where they need to go.

The Ghostriders put on other events as well, including benefit motorcycle rides for veterans, as well as a Ride for Recovery to help those suffering from drug addiction to find resources and assistance.

Thomas said they encourage anyone who can participate to help out during the next two weekends.

“We take pride in the Ghostrider name and our community,” he said. “Seeing the community come together means the world to us.”

He said to not be intimidated by their appearance.

“Come talk to us,” Thomas said. “If there is anything we can do for the community, let us know.”