South Okanagan motorcyclists cruising for a cause

Christmas came early for the South Okanagan Women in Need Society (SOWINS) thanks to the nearly 40 riders.

Motorcycle riders leave the Penticton Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion Sunday on a three-hour journey to raise money and toy donations for the South Okanagan Women in Need Society for distribution to client families at Christmas.

Motorcycle riders leave the Penticton Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion Sunday on a three-hour journey to raise money and toy donations for the South Okanagan Women in Need Society for distribution to client families at Christmas.

Christmas came early for the South Okanagan Women in Need Society (SOWINS) thanks to the nearly 40 riders who took part in Sunday’s first annual Royal Canadian Legion Branch 40 Motorcycle Toy Run.

“We had a great day and for our first year we were really happy with the turnout we had. Everybody had a good time, the food was great, the music was good it was just an all around great day,” said organizer Paul James. “We got 136 toys and raised around $2,000 and I just can’t say how grateful I am to all of those riders who took part.”

The parade of motorcyclists left the Legion following a pancake breakfast and blessing just after 10 a.m. under an RCMP motorcycle escort. The three-hour trip went along Green Mountain Road, around Keremeos to Cawston then to Osoyoos and back to Penticton where they enjoyed a barbecue, auction and two live bands at the legion.

“From the bottom of my heart I just want to thank all the volunteers and everyone of the sponsors who helped make this such a success for the first year,” said James. “And absolutely we’re going to do it again next year.”

SOWINS Executive director Debbie Scarborough also expressed her gratitude to everyone who helped make the event such a success.

“I had the opportunity to speak with many of the organizers and riders in the morning before they set out for the bike ride and the one thing that kept coming back to my mind was how passionate this group was for helping the children and teens that SOWINS serves,” she said. “Their excitement for supporting us with these Christmas in August gifts was very appreciated and we can’t wait to partner with everyone again next year.”

There will be a similar ride Sept. 18 when the Okanagan Motorcycle Riders Association (OMRA) will hold its 29th annual South Okanagan Toy Run.

It starts with the Lions Club breakfast at 9 a.m. at the Peach in Rotary Park followed by the ride which includes stops in Summerland, Oliver and Okanagan Falls.

Proceeds go to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul for distribution to less fortunate families at Christmas. For more information contact Roy Colmer at 250-809-4757.