Story and Pictures by Linda Dahl
Sunshine Acres is a Christian home for children who are separated from their parents, and to help them establish long-term relationships with stable parental figures.
This is the 7th Annual Sunshine Acres Charity Run sponsored by Chandler Harley Davidson located in Chandler, AZ. This year’s entry fees brought the total donation made to Sunshine Acres over $100,000. You know, for a bunch of longhaired, pot smokin’, drunken, hippie freaks, we sure can do some good stuff.
I was amazed at the distance people came to go on this run. Yes, it was AZ Bike Week, and yes, this was an official bike week event, yet there were many choices of things to do today. I saw Colorado plates and Utah plates and talked to people from all over the state, but one guy stood out above the crowd. A guy named Mike came from Pinetop, AZ (about 200+ mile) because his little brother went to Sunshine Acres when his mom past away 4 years ago. Mike was 22 then and his little brother was only 15. Mike had no idea how to care for a kid, after all, he was just a kid himself. So, a social worker helped him place his little brother at Sunshine Acres. His little brother graduated high school last year and is now attending ASU (GO DEVILS). Mike said he owes it to Chandler HD to show up at this run cuz it’s the least he can do. He and his little bro are pretty tight now he said. He thinks if it weren’t for Sunshine Acres, his little brother would have probably ended up in the foster system and God knows what would have happened.
I met a couple of the kids from Sunshine Acres as I waited in line for the bathroom. (It’s a girl thing). They just seemed like your regular teens, laughing and joking and a little horseplay. They are definitely well adjusted and like where they live. The acreage they get to roam is beautiful, what kid wouldn’t like it there? The chef came out to greet the line of potty goers…. He was so nice and wished he could do more for the riders than a bottle of water and some sweets. Dude, don’t you get it? What you do already for these kids is huge, and we are just fine with the cookies. Just keep taking good care of the kids.
I talked to another guy who has been doing this run for every one of the seven years now. I asked him why he liked this one so much. He said because of the idea that all the cash goes in to taking care of the kids. “Look around and the place is pretty much run by volunteers. So there aren’t any big corporate salaries to eat up the money that is donated by riders. When riders like me and my friends lay down our hard earned paychecks for a charity, that’s important.”
There were a lot of great sponsors as usual, but this was the first year for San Tan Flats, a new destination for bikers. They did a great job at hosting the end of the run. I was overjoyed that there were enough beer stations to keep the lines down to next to nothing! And the burgers were awesome! Kudos guys for understanding the needs of the biker! Got to give props to other sponsors as well, like Chandler HD, Budweiser, Law Tigers, Chase Bank, KSLX, Valle Luna Mexican Cantina… These are some of the biggest sponsors and there were a lot of others, but too many to mention. Just know we are grateful for what you do to help Chandler HD out when it comes to making a great place for the kids.
See ya’ next year, same time – same run!