You have likely heard of holiday programs for underprivileged children such as the Marine Corps sponsored Toys for Tots, or the local Shop With a Cop program, but have you thought about shopping with a biker?
The 5th annual Shop With a Biker event will be happening in West Central Illinois in December. The event aims to provide a good Christmas for underprivileged children in the area by motorcycle riders raising money throughout the year with the goal of taking at least 100 area children shopping for Christmas.
Jeremy Schofield, Secretary of the local Bro Rider Motorcycle Club, said that the club has been involved from the start, but officially took over the event in 2017.
“On the day of, what we do is we match a child with a local motorcycle rider. They do not necessarily need to be a rider in a club, it just needs to be someone who enjoys to ride and who enjoys helping kids.
It’s a very heart warming experience. The first year that the Bro Riders were involved, it was such and overwhelming experience for the members to see the look on the kids faces. We let them pick out what they want for Christmas, they go and pick out what they want, throw it in the cart, and at the end we are happy to pay for it.”
Schofield said that not just toys have been provided over the years. Some families nominated to the event received needed supplies for an infant, or clothes and other needed items for teenagers.
Families are nominated by sending a letter to the club to be included in the event. In years past, the event was held at the ShopKo store in Jacksonville. Schofield said that in their absence this year, the Beardstown WalMart store has graciously stepped in to help continue the tradition of giving.
“It’s kinda cool just to see the impact it has on the kids, you are getting a chance to help them out and they are getting a little taste of what goodness is around the holiday season- it’s just a really cool experience.
This year it is going to be on December 21st, it starts at 1:00 pm at the Walmart in Beardstown. We have a Facebook page for the event if you want to find out more information, it is the B.R.M.C. Shop With a Biker. Nomination letters or donations can be sent to Shop With a Biker, P.O. Box 575. Jacksonville, Illinois 62651.”
You can also message the group with any questions you may have through their Facebook page.
Nomination letters need to be received by December 13th, so if you have a child or children you would like to nominate for the program, you will want to get them sent soon.
Schofield said that the event is not limited to just their club members, it is open to any motorcycle rider who wants to give back this season by just helping a family shop with their children.
“in past years, the Jacksonville Fire Department has escorted us with Santa Claus riding in the fire truck. I’m not sure if we will be able to have the Beardstown fire Department help this year, but I am really kinda hoping that they do, because it’s really cool for Santa to be sitting in the fire truck, or riding his motorcycle, because Santa Claus rides too. But it is just really cool when all the kids are standing out front of the store and they see all the bikers and everyone come pulling in. It’s just a really cool experience.”
If you’d like to ride with the group to the store, or just take part in the event, contact Jeremy Schofield through the Bro-Riders Motorcycle Club Facebook page.