Ghost Riders hold annual toy drive

Published 8:35 am Tuesday, November 12, 2019

It may not be Thanksgiving yet, but members of the community are already preparing for the Christmas season, finding ways to help those in need every step of the way.

The Ghost Riders Motorcycle Club came to Elizabethton’s Walmart this past weekend for their annual toy drive, raising thousands of dollars towards their goal of helping less fortunate children just like Santa would.

“Without us, the kids would not have a good Christmas,” Chief Enforcer Harley Thomas said.

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The motorcycle club worked alongside the Elizabethton Housing and Development Agency. At both entrances to the Walmart parking lot, members collected monetary donations from passersby.

Members who were not actively waving down cars as they came in and out were gathered near each other at the main entrance, enjoying each other’s company. To them, this was more than just a standard fundraiser. It was a way to serve people who needed the support.

He said the event, which they hold during the first two weekends of November every year, holds special, personal significance to their members.

“A lot of our members grew up less fortunate,” Thomas said.

Vice President Jacob “Slim” Dillard said they often face challenges getting the word out about the toy drive, especially due to misconceptions about what they do as an organization.

“We are not a gang,” Dillard said. “We are a club of motorcycle enthusiasts.”

The club does not just span Elizabethton, either. Another branch of their organization is running a similar campaign in North Carolina.

Once all the donations come in, the club then presents the toys they obtained to the children at a later date. Dillard said the feeling is almost unmatched.

Both he and Thomas said their favorite part of the experience is when they can hand the toys out to the kids themselves.

“The two best things in the world are feeling the wind on your motorcycle and helping the kids,” Dillard said.

Ghost Riders is an organization that has chapters all over the country, promoting the fun of motorcycles while sponsoring charity events like this throughout the year.