With the holidays approaching, motorcyclists are getting ready to help stock local food pantries and donate toys to families in need.
The DuKane Chapter of A.B.A.T.E. of Illinois is hosting its 26th annual toy and food run, which kicks off Sunday in Elburn.
Judy Kaenel, president of the DuKane Chapter of A.B.A.T.E. of Illinois, said last year’s event drew 790 motorcycle riders, 395 of whom chose to be a part of the dozen mile parade. Although the weather is colder this month, she said it shouldn’t deter motorcyclists from coming out.
“Bikers are a different sort,” she said. “If they truly believe in a cause, bikers will come out.”
The event collects toys and food to serve families through nine local nonprofit organizations.
The $10 registration fee supports A.B.A.T.E.’s mission to educate people about motorcycle safety.
Kaenel said it’s tradition for motorcycle riders to stack toys on their bikes as they head from Knuckleheads in Elburn to the VFW in Batavia.
Several police and fire agencies lead the parade and close streets to let motorcycles through.
As drivers wait for motorcycles to clear, Kaenel said A.B.A.T.E. members pass out what they call “patience cards” that explain the purpose of the toy and food run.
Last year, the organization raised about $12,000 to further A.B.A.T.E.’s mission. Those who donated food and toys also helped fill two flatbed trucks.
Donations this year will be taken to Batavia Interfaith Food Pantry Inc., Lutheran Services of Illinois, Illinois Department of Children and Family Services – Elgin, Family Shelter Service Elburn Food Pantry/St. Vincent’s de Paul Pantry, HELPS Ministry, Aurora Soup Kitchen Inc., Breaking Free Inc., and Martha’s Youth Services.
A.B.A.T.E., which stands for A Brotherhood Aimed Toward Education, covers Kane and DuPage counties.
Kaenel said each chapter is responsible for motorcycle education programs, which can get expensive.
She said the DuKane Chapter of A.B.A.T.E. of Illinois visits 100 schools each year to educate students about motorcycle awareness and safety.
The event is open to non-motorcycle riders, too. The motorcycle parade starts in Elburn at 12:30 p.m. and heads to the Batavia VFW, where there will be more than 25 vendors, food, drinks and live music by Six Wheels South until 6 p.m.