Local bikers bring Christmas to the needy
Eight local families in need were visited on Saturday by nearly one hundred members of Cape Coral’s American Bikers Aimed Toward Education motorcycle club looking to spread some holiday cheer.
All of the families applied for assistance this holiday season, but never expected to open their door to 100 bikers, hands full of presents, singing “Wish You A Merry Christmas.”
“The families are shocked,” said Roger Pawlowski, an ABATE member and Bonita Springs resident who has participated in the run for the last three years. “They don’t know this is coming and they all break down when 100 bikers come.”
For the past 14 years, members of the club have collected toys, household items and food to be dispersed to local families before Christmas. Since the ride started the club has helped approximately 100 families living in Cape Coral.
On Saturday morning the bikers met at Jaycee Park for a kick-off gathering and riding orientation. At noon they switched on their engines and traveled to the homes under escort of the Cape Coral Police Department.
Alongside the biker parade was a large Budget rental truck full of gifts and donations. Tammy Amodea, organizer of this year’s Adopt-A-Family Ride, said the 24 foot truck was filled with items ready to be donated.
“We started wrapping presents at 7 p.m. and didn’t finish until 1 a.m.,” said Amodea. “Everything on the truck is in order of the stops.”
She added that the truck also held $2,000 worth of groceries for the families, and another $400 in recently donated groceries. Overall the bikers made eight stops to families with vastly different circumstances and made two surprise visits at the end of the ride.
Assistance was given to a 2-year-old with a drug addiction since birth, a single mother with four children, a disabled grandmother with no money trying to raise her granddaughter, a member of ABATE who recently lost his job and a family whose mother has burns over 80 percent of her body from a car accident.
During each visit they carried sundry items such as canned yams, bars of soap and cranberry sauce, as well as wrapped presents and in some cases furniture. Presents were placed under the families’ Christmas trees and food was piled high on their kitchen tables.
Roy Steel, vice president of the ABATE Cape Coral chapter, explained that families are chosen based on need. Later, one chapter member is assigned to each family and their responsibility it is to collect items they need.
“They know we are coming but they have no idea we are showing up on 20 motorcycles,” said Steel.
President of the Cape Coral chapter, Chuck Long, explained to all of the bikers that this would be an emotional run.
“You’ll find the true meaning of giving in your heart,” he said.