Bike riders brave cold to collect toys for kids

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Santa Claus was among a group of folks riding their bikes despite chilly weather to help some children have a very merry Christmas.

"The cold was kind of tough this morning, but you know it's all for the kids," said organizer Danny Walton.

"We're not worried about ourselves, we were all out just trying to give back to the Gulf Coast kids, and the Marines promised me our toys would stay right here on the Gulf Coast for our kids."

Danny Walton has always wanted to find a way to help those in need at Christmas time. He realized he could use something he had a passion for, like cycling, and just get others involved.

"It was a dream to be able to give back to our Gulf Coast kids, and the Marines stepped up and wanted to do Toys for Tots along with our ride. The Biloxi Police Department stepped up and gave us an outstanding escort through downtown Biloxi."

The riders met up in Ocean Springs at Tri Hard Sports. Walton is good friends with the owners, and they were more than willing to help him organize the ride.

"Danny and I are really good buddies so what better way to get a lot of people out through the store and through him for Toys for Tots," said Hunter Henley, co-owner of Tri Hard Sports.

All the riders brought a toy for the Toys for Tots program, and some even dropped off their toys and decided not to ride due to the cold. The chilly weather didn't stop 13-year-old Andrea Wheeler.

"I have two shirts on and two pairs of socks and I have biking shorts and leggings on so I'm bundled up and I had gloves and a hat," said Andrea.

Organizers say the ride was a success and no matter how cold it is next year they hope to have more people, toys and bicycles.

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