Salvation Army getting help from bikers, still needs more

By Sylvia Hall - bio | email

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Hundreds of bikers lined up on Main Street in Pascagoula Sunday, ready to combine two of their favorite things, riding and giving.

"It feels good to help people and we're helping," said L.C. Place.  "We've already collected two thousand toys and a couple thousand dollars."

"Bikers look rough on the outside, but ninety percent of us have a big heart," said Talons Motorcycle Group Vice President Doug Rouse.

It's the Third Annual Talons Toy Run, and its one of the biggest gifts the Salvation Army and Toys for Tots will receive this season, in Jackson and George Counties.

"We felt it was important to try to do something and help the children out," said Rouse.

It's even more important this year because donations to the Salvation Army and Toys for Tots aren't coming fast enough. Boxes that are usually filled with donated toys are empty, and Salvation Army Angel trees are still covered in angels waiting to be adopted. And deadlines are quickly approaching.

Salvation Army Angels are some of the neediest children in South Mississippi. There are about 900 of them this year.  Every paper angel that hangs on a Salvation Army tree represents one that still hasn't been adopted by anyone. Therefore, there's no guarantee that the child will receive anything for the holidays. Most Salvation Army trees in South Mississippi are still laced with paper angels.

"We know that it's a hard year this year for everyone out there," said Salvation Army Captain Andy Collette. "But there are people in this community, in Jackson and George County who have been blessed. And they can bless others this year."

There's still time for them to do it.

"Somebody's listening right now who's saying 'You know what? I can help,'" said Collette.  "I need them to come help. Because without them, we're not going to make it."

The Talons Toy Run is proof that despite the recessing economy, people can give.

"You look at the gathering we have here, there are still a lot of people out here that do want to help," said Rouse.

Toys for Tots and the Salvation Army will start delivering gifts to needy families on Monday.

"Don't wait. Now's the time," said Collette.

Because this year, the Salvation Army needs a miracle of its own.  Donations can be dropped off at any Salvation Army location or any Wal-mart.