Written by Diana Olmstead
Some of the readers might be wondering what is biker benevolence, what does it mean…? According to the dictionary there is no actual definition of what a biker is. This is not much of a surprise to me because I have learned that bikers come in all shapes, sizes, sexes and backgrounds. The dictionary does have a definition of benevolence, 1) a kindly charitable act or gift, 2) an inclination to do good.
Christmas can be financially and emotionally difficult for many families already struggling. The first week of December the Northwest was saturated with rain causing catastrophic flooding for several counties. As a result, the number of families in need of help grew dramatically.
This past month many businesses and riders supported and generously gave to numerous worthy charity causes while helping to raise awareness of these organizations. Some knew of individual families in need during the holidays and assisted them directly.
In the summer months we get on our bikes to simply get some wind in our face, clear the cobwebs and escape from the daily grind. In December we bundled up, put on our rain gear, packed our bikes with toys, food and clothing and rode with one purpose: charity.
Eagle Leather in Lakewood sponsored Levi, the boy pictured on our December cover with Joe “Santa” Sullivan, and his 3 sisters. The Society’s Deviants MC, came together and generously donated Christmas dinner groceries for this family of five.
Legend H-D in Silverdale had a Marine Corps Toys For Tots Drive. In 2006, Toys for Tots delivered more than 19.2 million toys to over 7.6 million children. Yet statistics state that there are over 13 million children living in poverty.
Legend also provided toys for the ALIVE Shelter. Operated by the YWCA, it is a home for abused women and their children. They respond to the physical and emotional needs of battered women living within Kitsap County.
Destination H-D and the Tacoma H.O.G. Chapter sponsored seven local families in need. This is in addition to the Vietnam Vets’Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital Toy Ride that was held in late November.
Northwest H-D and South Sound HOG in Olympia adopted several individual families facing hardships in addition to P.A.C.T – Parents and Children Together, an organization in Yelm that assists 30-35 kids in foster care families.
I rode along and witnessed the kid’s anticipation and delight as Joe “Santa” Sullivan, led by his 40 chromed out thundering reindeer lined the neighborhood. Santa’s helper, Steve Boone, drove the NWHD truck and trailer loaded with gifts ranging from Barbie’s and skateboards for the younger kids, electronic toys and gift certificates for the teenagers and much needed necessities for the adults.
Many other local dealers and their HOG chapters including Sound H-D, Downtown H-D, Seattle H-D and Latus Motors H-D had similar events and toy drives that helped many local families and benefited more then half a dozen local charities. We were unable to list all of them as details were not available as we went to print.
If it weren’t for biker benevolence, thousands of families of all ages would indeed go without what many of us take for granted.