CHICAGO (CBS)– Bikers participating in The Chicagoland Toys for Tots Motorcycle Parade are donating a few hours of their time this morning to help make Christmas a bit brighter for local children. CBS2’S Courtney Gousman reports.
The parade started 35 years ago by a Vietnam Veteran and 5 of his friends.They went around delivering toys to needy children on motorcycles.
Now, it’s dubbed as “the world’s greatest motorcycle parade,” with thousands of bikers participating.
The parade proceeds down Western, beginning at the Dan Ryan Woods, and ending on the city’s north side at Western and Roscoe.
It’s a 20 mile ride that’s expected to last at least 5 hours.
Coordinators are asking today’s riders, to bring a toy to donate to the “Toys for Tots” program sponsored by the U-S Marine Corp.
All the toys collected will be delivered to area schools, orphanages, and hospitals to make an underprivileged child’s Christmas a little brighter.
“This organization has gone full circle. People can remember being helped by this organization when they were kids and now they’re in a position to give back,” said George Fortier with the Chicagoland Toys for Tots.
And area business man, Bruce Rauner, makes it his business to participate year after year writing a check today for $5,000.
“I’m a big fan, I’m a big believer in supporting children in need,” he said.
If you’d like to donate, Toys for Tots members are asking for new, unwrapped toys for infants up to the age of 16.
You can drop them in the Toys for Tots donation boxes located in restaurants, bars, and most Walgreens in the Chicagoland area.
Coordinators expect a large turnout for today’s run because of the nice weather.
In years past, 55,000 bikers have participated.
Drivers are asked to exercise patience if you’re traveling along Western.
The parade started at 9:30 this morning.