Giving Back | Reno County Toy Run
Tony Railsback, Director of Maintenance, has been an active supporter of the Reno County Toy Run since 1995. We aksed him to tell us a little bit about this incredible program and how he's giving back in the community.
About the Toy Run
The Toy Run started in 1983 by the Sons of Silence and Double Thunder MC and in the early 90's, switched to ABATE of Kansas District 8 Reno County. In the 90's, they had their own committee made up of individuals representing local MC's. Now, Reno County Toy Run has its now direct board and anybody is welcome to attend the meetings. Over the years, the Toy Run has grown from just a few riders to a total, this year, of 785 motorcycles, many of which had two riders. In the beginning, we were known as Toys for Tots but out of concern from the Marine Corps overcapitalization of the Toys for Tots name, we switched to the Reno County Toy Run. In the early years, the toys were given to an organization called Big Brothers for distribution, a group that was made up of current and retired employees of the Hutchinson News. My father was a member of that organization when I was a small boy and I can remember going with him to help put toys together.
As the years have passed, we have continued to grow and change with time. We've been fortunate to have some younger people with new ideas, social media experience and good networking skills, which only help grow the Toy Run. We have several other fundraisers and events, including an annual Fun Run in July, bike wash and hot dog day, Third Thursday events, chili feed and a live auction after the Toy Run as well as a twelve-month calendar featuring all local girls and motorcycles. We also have a pre-Toy Run Party where one of the ladies is chosen as Queen to represent the Reno County Toy Run for the following year. All of the money we raise is used to purchase bicycles and what's leftover stays right here in Reno County and is given to local charities for their Christmas programs. We are pleased to say that we have ZERO overhead and every dollar raised is spent right here in Reno County. This year, we also became a 501c3 and all donations are 100% tax deductible.
I have been involved since 1995 as a member of ABATE OF KS. I took the head chair position over from Jr. Hester and was in that position until 2005 or so and still sit on the direct board. My job is to acquire the insurance for the event from the city of Hutchinson. I also get all the port-a-pottie sponsorships and scheduling delivery and pick up of port-a-potties. I help with bicycle tie on and distribution and I am in charge of setting up of security on the exterior of the ending point of ride. In past year’s it has been a huge undertaking, but I have been fortunate enough to have other committee members step up and take on responsibilities, allowing me to move into more of a coordinator position and make sure everything is in the right place at the right time, allowing for a great event. I like participating in this event because it gives you a good feeling. We are helping kids right here in Reno County for Christmas. Even though I don’t often get to see the kid's smiles on Christmas Day, going down Main Street the day of Toy Run day and seeing all the people standing out on the street supporting us rain or shine is an overwhelming feeling of gratitude and joy.
How is TECH involved?
TECH plays a part in the Toy Run in several different ways. For many years, TECH employees from all areas of the agency help the Toy Run financially. TECH's 1300 E. Avenue A location is a place to store all of the bicycles and tricycles short-term. The space works perfectly for us because A street is large enough that we can put 3 tractor trailers inside on Friday night before the Toy Run, which allows us to tie them on the trailers where it is well-lit, warm and secure. We are able to pull the trailers out for the city parade on Saturday, store them that night and pull them back out so they are first in line for the Toy Run on Sunday. After the Toy Run, the bicycles are removed from semi-trailers and stored at TECH until mid-December. In mid-December, they are distributed to New Beginnings, First Call for Help's Teen Christmas, Secret Santa, Nickerson Chamber of Commerce’s Christmas program, Guardian of The Children, and Salvation Army Toys for Tots. This year we have a total of 197 bicycles and tricycles that are being distributed. Last year we had 205. These bicycles are purchased or provided through donations from individuals, businesses and local fundraisers.
How can I help?
Yes, there is still a need. Fundraising for Reno County Toy Run is a year-round event and we would be happy to give you a tax receipt for your donation. Toys can be taken to First Call Teen Christmas, which helps teenagers - an age group that seems to often be forgotten. You can also take them to Salvation Army Toys for Tots. Reno County Toy Run Association meets the third Tuesday of every month starting in April, running through December and anyone can attend those meetings. The Toy run itself is open to any street legal motorcycle and licensed rider.
Again, I personally would like to thank all TECH staff for their continued year after year support. Happy Holidays to all at TECH from Reno Co. Toy Run Association.