"Toys for Tots"
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29 November 2005
There is nothing more satisfying than breaking long-held stereotypes, and one of the best way to break a stereotype is to attend the annual Toys for Tots rally in Sacramento.
I stumbled across this event several years ago when I went to the downtown mall to do some Christmas shopping and decided to get a little exercise by walking under the freeway to Old Sacramento and doing a turn through the tourist area and then back to the car.
Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Old Sacramento was filled with motorcycles and big burly leather-clad cyclists. That's when I found out about the Toy Run, where anybody with a motorcycle in northern California is invited to meet up and bring toys to the capitol for underprivileged children.
I love the description from the Motorcycle Events web page:
It sounds like a notice that would be sent out for the PTA about a pot luck supper, though I did like that part about having a pre-run party at "Tequila Uglies Bar"!
The event itself defies description. Seeing all these guys that you would feel uncomfortable meeting on a dark night in a back alley somewhere, all tooling down the street with dolls and teddy bears strapped to the back of their bikes.
I spoke with one woman who has been doing this for 10 or more years and she says that even better than the teddy bears are the burly guys with Barbie dolls, because "every little girl should have a Barbie doll." (I proved I'll never be a real "vlogger" because I was too uncomfortable to interview her on tape!)
Further breaking the stereotype was this guy I found, with his dog.
(I think this was taken outside Tequila Uglie's)
At noon, the group in Old Sacramento meets up with the group that has been waiting at Miller Park, and over the next hour or so, they parade up to the capitol to drop off their toys.
As I went back to the parking lot to get into my car, a group of cyclists passed nearby and gunned their motors. The vibration was so strong that it set off the car alarms of several cars in the parking structure. I got in my own car and headed off in the direction of the capitol.
My parking angel was with me because I was able to find one only parking space just a block away from the action, so I parked, grabbed my cameras and took off to take photos.
There were members of all branches of the service standing guard around this huge mountain of toys, and other members in camouflage gear accepting the gifts.
There was music blaring (not Christmas music, but let's not quibble) and these tough looking guys taking each others' photos in front of the toys and on the Capitol steps.
It was just one gigantic feel-good event and I'm so happy I got a chance to witness it.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
This is only a small sampling--there are