Southeast Bakersfield

Toy run unhampered by cold

Toy run unhampered by cold »Play Video
People gather at the Kern County fairgrounds following the toy run parade Sun., Dec. 8, 2013 (KBAK/KBFX photo by Courtney Bryant)

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) - It's a Bakersfield tradition. For 30 years, the Toy Run has brought the biking community together to support needy families during the holidays.

"Every year, the one thing that people who ride bikes plan on is the second Sunday in December, doing the Bakersfield Toy Run," said Don Oldaker, president of the Bakersfield Toy Run.

Bikers led the way from Beach Park to the Kern County Fairgrounds with toys, canned goods and cash donations onboard.

"Everyday people can be heroes every day," said Edward Dudley-Robey, an attendee. "People here need help, and this is a chance to give it, ride a bike and have some fun at the same time. How can you beat that?"

Temperatures in the 30s didn't deter many.

Despite the cold, this year's event saw an estimated turnout of 7,000 people, among them Bakersfield Mayor Harvey Hall.

"This is another example of Bakersfield cares," said the mayor. "Bakersfield cares about the less fortunate and wants to do something to make their lives better."

Volunteers collected toys and food by the truckload, holiday relief on its way for families the Salvation Army supports.

"This is a huge event," said Todd Bradford of the Salvation Army. "This is one of our greatest fundraisers. Bakersfield is a community that really supports the Salvation Army and has a real giving heart."

The Salvation Army estimates this one event helps nearly 1,000 families each year to have a Christmas.