37th Annual Chicagoland Toys for Tots Motorcycle Parade
Last weekend Performance Machine packed their winter coats and headed north, to the Windy City of Chicago, Illinois, for the 50th annual Dealer Expo. Little did we know, that on Sunday we would have the great honor of participating in the 37th Annual Chicagoland Toys for Tots Motorcycle Parade, which provides under privileged children with brand-new presents for Christmas.
Staging for the parade took place at Dan Ryan Woods, where thousands gathered with their motorcycles and unwrapped toys; some even got into the holiday spirit by transforming their bikes into Christmas floats (which has become an annual tradition for many).
At 9:30 am, the parade began its 17 mile trek down Western Avenue to DeVry University, Governor Elect Bruce Rauner was one of the parade participants, who later presented Toys for Tots with a $5,000 hand written check at the end of the parade. No official numbers have been released yet, but after talking to parade volunteers, they estimate the turnout to be somewhere near 60,000 motorcycle (close second, to the record set a few years back of 75,000), with the chilly-crisp weather this turnout was outstanding.
Crowds of people formed assembly lines in the University parking lot to help receive and load unwrapped toys; it resembled something out of Santa’s Workshop! Once all the toys get loaded up, they will be transported to the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, who will then distribute the toys to under privileged children throughout Chicago’s local neighborhoods.
Christmas is a time for giving and making miracles happen, and so was the case for one little girl from the Make-A-Wish Foundation, whose wish was to ride with Santa. Mrs. Illinois International 2014, Randi Moxx, and Governor-Elect Bruce Rauner, spent part of the day with this special little girl and presented her with a memorable Chicagoland Toys for Tots blanket for her to take home as a keepsake.
About Chicagoland Toys for Tots
Chicagoland Toys for Tots is a 501 (c)3 nonprofit charity that collects tens of thousands of toys in hundreds of toy boxes and distributes them to individuals, outreaches, hospitals, churches, shelters and schools throughout the Chicagoland area. It is also the nation’s single largest contributor to the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Foundation. The 37th Annual Chicagoland Parade is the largest motorcycle parade in the country – hosting as many as 55,000 riders through the streets of Chicago. For more information visit www.chicagolandtft.org.