Toys for kids cruise takes place in Belleview
This year is expected to be their best fundraising year yet
BELLEVIEW, Fla. (WCJB) - About 300 cars showed up to Big Daddy Don Garlits Drag Racing Museum to help less fortunate kids have a great holiday.
The 22nd annual toys for kids cruise was organized by the Twilight Cruisers of Belleview.
In order to participate in the show, people had to make a $15 donation or bring a toy of equal value.
“This is our big toy drive,” said Twilight Cruisers President Steve Hawter. “Normally we run about $15,000 worth of toys and 5 or 6 thousand dollars for them.”
The funds raised and toys collected go to Interfaith Emergency Services.
From there they are distributed directly to help children of less fortune get gifts for christmas.
“A lot of major charities only 10% of what you give ends up staying in the area, the other 90% goes around wherever they need it,” said Hawter. “Interfaith has programs for unwed mothers, they have programs for seniors, they have free food, they have a thrift store. They have all kinds of programs that stay just in Marion County, and that’s what it’s all about.”
“We get to fill our box truck with toys--really good quality toys these people go all out—and we take em back to our homeless shelter where we house homeless women and children,” said Interfaith CEO Karla Greenway. “And we set up a toy store so the moms get the joy of shopping for their kids without the burden of paying for them.”
Organizers awarded more than $1500 in prizes at the event.
They say the real reward is giving back to people who need it.
“When you’re dealing with people who need a home, being able to do anything during the holidays to lift their spirits is huge,” said Greenway. “A lot of them are worried about where they’re going to live, so they’re not expecting this and it brings a lot of tears of joy to the moms and kids.”
“We’re supposed to give back to others,” said Hawter. “I’ve been pretty fortunate in my lifetime. Here I am 82 years old and I look this good, I got to give back to the community.”
Twilight cruisers said they projected this year would be their best year of fundraising yet.
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