Motorbikers flock to Roma for huge Christmas charity run
OVER 80 foster kids across the Darling Downs and southwest will be in for a nice Christmas surprise after a generous donation from the Maranoa Motorcyclists Toy Run.
This year’s event had 49 motorbike enthusiasts ride down the streets of Roma at 8.30am on November 28, equipped with Christmas presents for the kids.
Roma police sergeant Sebastian Pollock led the way, from Bassett Park to the town centre and along to the Clay Target Club.
A diverse range of motorbikes, big and small, followed along for the ride.
Rider Laurie Sheahan donated some drawing sets, crayons, and a little fishing rod for his 4th year of the motorbike run.
Chris McKenzie and Bevan Waldron both brought along Toyworld gift vouchers, some of which were kindly donated by the store.
At the end, the riders and some supportive community members met up at the gun club for a sausage sizzle and a coffee.
Organiser John Finnigan said this year’s event was ‘just fantastic’, and tied as the largest turnout of any of the Maranoa bike runs.
This was including 12 riders from the Ulysses Club from Toowoomba, who happened to be in town for the event.
Mr Finnigan first organised the bike run in 2012 to donate to kids in need, and to show the community that not all bikers are ‘bikies’ or ‘crooks’.
And on his first year, he had heaps of presents but didn’t know what to do with them, so he got in touch with Anglicare who happily donated them to foster kids.
Anglicare Roma’s manager for children and families Helen McLeod said there are currently 87 kids in foster care between Dalby and Charleville, and 25 kids at risk of going in.
“We’re working really hard to keep them out of the foster care system,” Ms McLeod told the crowd.
She said this event gives the Maranoa community a sense of how many kids are in foster care.
“Foster carers are given an allowance, but it’s often just an allowance,” Ms McLeod said.
“They can’t afford big presents.”
When Anglicare delivers the presents to the foster parents, they can choose whether to give it to the kids on the spot, or keep them as a surprise under the Christmas tree.
“We always need more carers, so if people are wanting to be foster carers, there’s always a need,” she said.
Mr Finnigan wishes to thank all the participants, the Western Star, and the media outlets that promoted the event.