Annual Toy Run gears up for giving
by Sherrie Norris
Sponsored by Eagle Rock Ministries Inc. and made possible with the assistance of the local Peacemaker's Chapter of the Christian Motorcyclist Association, the event raises money to provide Christmas gifts for less-fortunate children in the area.
Because of the event's success, more than 3,000 children across the High Country counties of Ashe, Avery and Watauga have received Christmas gifts in the last seven years.
Long associated with the Peacemakers, Kris and Becky Fowler, founders of Eagle Rock Ministries, work each year, along with their fellow bikers and other volunteers, to make Christmas a reality for the youngsters.
Without their help, Becky Fowler said, many of the children would miss the magic of waking up to find something under the tree on Christmas morning.
"We not only buy fun things, but also necessary items children need, such as hats, gloves, boots and school supplies," she said.
Each year in December, the Fowlers distribute the gifts to parents or caregivers of the recipients who, in turn, make sure the children receive the gifts on Christmas morning.
"Our first Toy Run was started so that we could purchase Christmas gifts for the children of the inmates at the Watauga County jail," Becky Fowler said.
Serving as chaplains at the jail, the Fowlers discovered that most of the children were "falling through the cracks," Becky Fowler said. "With the help of the local motorcyclists that year, 54 children were blessed and the Watauga County Toy Run was born."
Requests for assistance quickly grew beyond the county line, thus resulting in the name change to include the entire High Country area.
On event day this year, registration will be held in the Boone Mall parking lot from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
The entrance fee for each participant is a new, unwrapped toy or gift worth at least $20, or a donation of at least $20. The entry fee includes a catered meal and a door prize ticket. Commemorative Toy Run T-shirts will be given to the first 100 participants.
The ride starts promptly at 11 a.m. with escorts provided by the Watauga County Sheriff's Office and Boone Police Department.
Car owners can either join the run or leave their autos on display at the mall.
Lunch will be served after the estimated 90-minute ride, at which time a silent auction and a 50/50 drawing will also be held and door prizes presented.
"You don't have to have a motorcycle or a car to join in," Kris Fowler said, "but we do hope the community will come out to show support for children and to enjoy the food and fellowship with us."
For more information, contact the Fowlers at (828) 265-0950 or (828) 260-2981 or email (email@example.com) Checks payable to High Country Toy Run may be mailed to 405 Willow Trail, Boone, NC 28607.