"The Blue Knights Motorcycle Club has hosted a toy run for the Salvation Army for 30-plus years," said the Salvation Army's Major Tim Sheehan. "Their members from across Delaware--really, out of the region--come together in the morning down at the Mill Creek Fire Hall and then, there is a rumble of motorcycles that proceeds from there to our location here in downtown Wilmington bringing all kinds of toys and gifts that we use in our Christmas distribution."
The annual toy drive on Sunday, November 8, 2020, will go a long way to giving children a special Christmas despite these unprecedented times.
"The Blue Knight Motorcycle Club is...an international organization made up primarily of retired law enforcement," Sheehan said.
The drive this year, and any donations the Salvation Army can raise, are more important to helping the less privileged than ever before.
"We anticipate this year having a greater need because of the COVID-19 issue that we're all still dealing with, and the impact that it's had on people. It's usually in the ballpark of about somewhere between 2,500 to 3,000 children a year that we help with with Christmas efforts," he said. "It fluctuates, some of that may be toy-related, some of it may be families who need food, those kinds of things. But we anticipate, this year, the number to be higher and we're seeing some of that now with the initial requests because there were folks who find themselves in this very odd year for all of us."
He said the COVID-19 pandemic has affected them as it affected many organizations which seek to help people. More requests for aid came in, but the frequency and volume of donations also began to diminish.
"It has had an impact on our income. We're not raising as much as we have in the past, quite frankly...When things began to happen, we suddenly found ourselves having requests from people who, a year ago, were putting change in our annual Red Kettle Christmas event. This year, they were on the other side, looking for assistance," Sheehan said. "This is the year of virtual, right? We're all going virtual. We do have some limited places where we'll have Red Kettle actually out. You will hear the bell ringing at a number of places--a lot less than usual, but SalvationArmyDelaware.org is where folks can go."