Secret Santa Program
What: Toys or sponsorships for children in need
Where: Chattahoochee Baptist Association,1220 McEver Road, Gainesville.
More info: 770-532-3371, www.chattahoocheebaptistassociation.org or follow on Facebook.
No one would argue that Santa’s got a big job to do on Christmas Eve.
Flying a sleigh around the world and delivering toys to boys and girls, however, would be next to impossible without the help of his fleet of motorcycle-riding secret Santas.
Last Sunday morning, nearly 400 people rode in on their motorcycles to make a huge delivery of toys to the Chattahoochee Baptist Association for its annual Secret Santa Program.
Every year, the association and its 75 congregations collect toys for underprivileged children between the ages of 2 and 12. Parents have to apply for the program, which provides at least two presents for children within that age group.
Wanda Oliver, co-chairwoman of the program, said this year’s toy ride was among the biggest she’s seen in her 20 years on the Secret Santa committee.
The event usually draws anywhere from 150 to 200 motorcycles, but this year, 266 motorcycles made the drive from Frazier’s Harley-Davidson in Buford to the association in Gainesville.
She said the drive wouldn’t be "nearly what it is" without the help of Frazier’s Harley-Davidson, which has been bringing donated toys to the association for two
"It was wonderful. It’s really exciting to see them come down the highway and come into the association. The roar and everything is really exciting," Oliver said.
She said the motorcycles covered a 2 « -mile stretch of road.
A truck and trailer filled with toys and bicycles followed behind the parade of motorcycles.
"We have close to 700 kids we’re trying to provide for, and this made a nice dent into that," Allen Bagwell, director of Good Samaritan Ministries, said.
Bagwell said there were so many motorcycles he wasn’t sure where they would all park, which was a very good problem to have.
Once everyone arrived, the group formed a bucket brigade and passed the toys from hand to hand into the association’s storage room.
Bill Frazier, owner of Frazier’s Harley-Davidson, said the toy ride is one of his family’s favorite holiday traditions.
Many of the people who participated in the ride were customers of the store and members of the North Georgia Chapter of Harley Owners.
For many years, Frazier’s brother, Ralph Frazier, orchestrated the toy ride.
Ralph Frazier died in July when a falling tree limb struck him while riding his motorcycle in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee.
The association presented the Frazier family with a plaque honoring Ralph Frazier’s years of dedication to the cause.
"He was one of the ones who was a major part of doing this for us," Bagwell said.
Bill Frazier said the gesture was very nice, and that the event was always the highlight of the year for his brother.
"It’s a real nice cause that we try to get behind. It feels really nice to help someone local in your community," Frazier said.
Donations of gifts or money still can be made to the association, 1220 McEver Road, Gainesville, until Dec. 17. Parents will begin picking up toys and gifts on Dec. 18 and 19.
Oliver said there is still a need for sponsors for individual children. For less than $50, a sponsor can provide children with a personalized Christmas, including clothing in their size and a few toys from their wish list.
She said the need has definitely grown in recent years, but the number of sponsors has dwindled.