ABATE toy run helps children to have merry Christmas

SEBASTIAN — They gathered in the former Wal-Mart parking lot, just south of Riverview Park in Sebastian. A sea of chrome and leather, approximately 100 motorcycles lined up, waiting to make the ride.

“That’s what we do,” ABATE President Steve Kliemisch said – help others in the community by using their bikes.

Given the state of the economy and the unemployment rate, ABATE members are concerned that even more children will go without presents this Christmas.

“How else are they going to get it?” Gail Heinbockel said of children receiving gifts.

ABATE, which stands for American Bikers Aimed Toward Education, is an organization nationwide that’s mission is to promote motorcycle safety and awareness and show bikers in a positive light.

Shortly before Noon on Saturday, with nearly 100 bikes registered and far more riders lined up, the Treasure Coast ABATE chapter mounted their motorcycles and took off.

Many bikes had stuffed animals and boxed toys strapped to their back-end. Others had strings of garland wrapped around the handlebars.

One biker, a passenger, rang a line of jingle bells – which was barely audible over the roar of the engines.

The toys were on their way to the Moose Lodge in Vero Beach, where they would be unloaded and given to representatives from SafeSpace and the Family Homeless Center.

After the ride, which came complete with a Sheriff’s Office escort, bikers enjoyed food and music as part of a celebration.

ABATE President Kliemisch said that he expected the group would be able to make a financial donation to both SafeSpace and Family Homeless Center to buy toys and items the riders did not contribute.

“Unfortunately, it’s harder for the older kids,” Kliemisch said.

Older children typically aren’t interested in baby dolls and stuffed animals. Instead, they’re more apt to want electronics and gadgets.

Anyone interested in helping either non-profit provide for a special Christmas can get more information here:

SafeSpacePO Box 2822Vero Beach, FL 32961-2822(772) 569-7233www.safespacefl.org

Family Homeless Center720 4th StreetVero Beach, FL  32962772.567.2766www.homelessfamilycenter.com

To learn more about ABATE Treasure Coast, visit www.TreasureCoast.ABATEFlorida.com.

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