MARTINSBURG — A few years ago, the Sorry Souls Motorcycle Club Christmas toy event brought some joy to the lives of a few local families, relying on the donations brought in by the club holiday party.
Now, it’s fourth year in the current rendition, the drive is touching the lives of hundreds of local children and families as all the local Sorry Souls chapters work throughout the year to make sure Christmas will be merry for as many as possible.
“When I got into the club the first year, we did the toys that we brought in at the Christmas party, and it was a small thing,” club member Longshot said, nodding at the admission fee for the club holiday party, either a new, unwrapped toy or monetary donation.
At the time, fellow club member Stone was just taking off with his autism fundraiser through the club, one that it in its fifth year today and has brought in large amounts of money to help those in need.
“That’s his passion,” Longshot said. “He looked at me and said, ‘If you can do something with Christmas, that’s your baby.’”
Talking with his wife, Longshot and his family happily jumped on board to make the drive what it is today. He thought back to his wife’s childhood, coming from a large family where there weren’t too many gifts under the tree for each person but they were gifts that meant so much to each individual.
“They were proud of that,” he said, adding his wife didn’t want any child who believes in Santa to wake up without presents on Christmas Day.
The club hosted families throughout the area over the weekend to distribute gifts to those invited inside the clubhouse, one that was turned into a mini-store after the Christmas party wrapped Saturday night.
“It looked like a little Walmart,” Longshot laughed.
In total, the club chapters gave presents to 546 children, helping more than 300 families. Each child got four small gifts and one large one, the items broken down into categories by the club. They also had access to socks, movies, clothes, hats and winter items as extra goodies, and the club provided wrapping paper, bows and a bag of food to each family as well to make it the most cheerful holiday possible.
“I was proud, but with this COVID year, it was sad to see over 500 kids with families struggling like this,” Longshot said. “2020 has opened a lot of eyes.”
With each chapter involved in fundraising, donating and networking throughout the year, it showed how much good can come from the members and the club as it continues to grow.
Jefferson County chapter president Scoob and the members of that chapter were able to use $500 left over from a recent fundraiser to purchase some last-minute items that are highly requested year after year: balls and scooters.
“As we grow, that’s another group helping in their area,” Scoob said, nodding at his recently formed Jefferson County chapter. “It’s really exciting.”
The club members thanked their partners they work with regularly to help make the Christmas event as successful as it is, especially AFRS Auctions, which regularly donates as well as takes donations from its customers for the drive, and the Winchester Food Bank.
Spreading the holiday cheer won’t stop with the Christmas event as the Jefferson County chapter is gearing up to deliver holiday meals to families in need just like it did at Thanksgiving. Last month, about seven members delivered to multiple families each in the area, coming together after to share their experiences.
“Everybody had a story from someone they ran across,” Scoob said.
That inspired the group to want to deliver meals again this holiday, the chapter’s partners, Jefferson County Community Ministries and the Jefferson County Boys and Girls Club, being right there to help.
JCCM had hams to deliver for Christmas meals and the Boys and Girls Club had plenty of turkeys as well as more than 1,550 pounds of food set aside for the members to use to share the joy. Those meals will be delivered or picked up this weekend.
“We’re talking over a ton of food between the two of them,” Scoob said.