PORTSMOUTH, Va. -- Saturday was a perfect day for motorcycling, and while a group of bikers gathered to ride, it was more than a typical bike ride. The ride was called Toy Run 2021, set up by Bayside Harley Davidson.
It's the first ride of its kind set up by the store. The purpose was to raise money and collect toys for patients at the Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters, so every kid can look forward to a present at Christmas.
"Bikers like toy runs and bikers love giving back because a biker's heart is made of gold,” Aly Bockler-Blanche said.
Bockler-Blanche is the store’s marketing director, and took on the role as Mrs. Claus for the ride. The store was also decorated with Christmas decorations, which included a Christmas tree with lights, a reindeer and snowman standee and a box where people could drop off toys.
"Just because Santa is on summer break doesn't mean kids still aren't in need in our community,” Bockler-Blanche said.
Marilyn Peacock, who took part in the ride, came out on her purple motorcycle to help.
"We've really been looking forward to it,” Peacock said. “We went Christmas shopping for the toys for the kids."
She brought a toy and placed it in the decorated box. Peacock said the ride's mission hits close to home.
"My own son was in the hospital for 19 days around Thanksgiving and Christmas,” Peacock said. “It's just heartbreaking."
Meanwhile others like Katie Hildebrand and her husband simply came to donate toys. Hildebrand said she does not ride motorcycles, but her husband does.
"Just between him and I, 365 toys,” Hildebrand said. "It's good, it's good for the soul. There's been a lot of hardships since last year, everybody needs some goodness."
The bikers came just before 10:30 a.m., then rode out through the Midtown Tunnel and circled CHKD in Norfolk before returning to Portsmouth for an after-party.
Bockler-Blanche sad they raised roughly $2,000 and six carloads of toys. Those toys will be delivered this December.
"Just because they ride bikes, they might look hard, but they are sweet, wonderful people and that needs to be known,” Hildebrand said.
You can still donate a toy and help out the cause. The store’s general manager said the donation box will be inside until Saturday, July 17.
Bayside Harley Davidson is located at 2211 Frederick Blvd. in Portsmouth.