Hundreds of area residents teamed up with the Black Hawks Motor Cycle Club and the Leesville Area Ministerial Alliance for the annual Toys for Tots program meant to lift the spirits of children and their families throughout the area.
There were 127 bikes and even more riders who participated in this year’s event, while businesses and organizations from all over the parish contributed toys for the program.  The Black Hawks have been hosting their Toys for Tots run for 28 years and have no plans to stop.
“This is just one simple way we can give back and support our community,” said Marty Martinson, vice president of the Black Hawks.
Each year beginning in October the Black Hawks begin making their lists and checking them twice to ensure that children in Vernon Parish who are in need will have a grand Christmas by collecting toys and monetary donations for the toy run.
Then, during the first week of December, the motorcycle enthusiasts and all of their friends band together for a motorcycle run that begins at Wal-Mart and travels throughout town.
“We set up in the Wal-Mart parking lot and accept donations of toys along with monetary donations,” said Martinson.
Then Santa leads the gang as they ride their bikes throughout Leesville as a single unit with the goal of bringing Christmas cheer to children throughout the area, said Martinson.
One of the brightest times in the program happens the Saturday before Christmas when Santa arrives on his Harley to assist in the passing out of Christmas gifts to families, according to Martinson.
“This project wouldn’t be possible without the support of everyone. Churches and businesses in the area are great to chip in and Vernon Parish Sheriff Sam Craft always makes his deputies available for our escort during the run,” said Martinson. “Everyone in the club understands the importance of Toys for Tots and as long as the Black Hawks are in Vernon Parish we will make sure the children have a good Christmas.”