Abate ‘santas’ hit the street
The engines roared to life, their police escorts parted traffic, and the Caloosahatchee Chapter of ABATE hit the road for their 17th year of bringing joy and hope to needy Cape Coral families during the holiday season.
Just prior to heading out of Jaycee Park on a crisp Saturday morning for the annual Adopt-A-Family holiday run Saturday, chapter president Kevin Wroten took time to time reflect on the holiday run, and what it meant to him as not only president, but a resident of this community.
“Its a very humbling experience for me,” Wroten said, wearing a red Santa hat. “I try to sponsor a family every year … it just overwhelms me with joy.”
Although ABATE – which stands for American Bikers Aiming Toward Education – is a motorcycle rights and safety watchdog, the Caloosahatchee chapter started the tradition of helping families nearly two decades ago.
According to Wroten, the families are chosen through an extensive screening process whereby the club tries to pick the neediest families to lend a helping hand to.
Last year, the club had seven families, this year it’s 10..
Wroten said that it simply breaks his heart that he nor the chapter is able to help every single family, but is thankful he’s able to help a few, especially the family he sponsors personally every year.
He said that he’s come across members of the families they’ve helped in the past – sometimes at Publix, sometimes at other random places through the community – and each time he’s equally rewarded and humbled.
It’s that feeling, he added, that brings bikers out to take part in the run, during which they deliver toys and food to the families.
“I’ve seen some huge bikers, guys you wouldn’t think would cry, just bawl their eyes out on these runs,” Wroten said.
All the families know they’re getting some help from the Caloosahatchee Chapter of ABATE, but they don’t know that 300 bikers are going to be roaring down their street to deliver the holiday cheer.
“This is a self gratifying thing,” Wroten said. “It’s just so overwhelming.”