Bikers bring Santa, Christmas to local elementary students
The kids waited in anticipation as the procession of motorcycles wound its way down the bus loop at Dr. Carrie D. Robinson Littleton Elementary School on a chilly Wednesday morning.
For many of these kids, it might as well have been sleigh bells from Santa’s sled.
The FL2-G Yellow Jackets of North Fort Myers: Gold Wing Road Riders Association came to the school to partner with the teachers and give gifts to students, many of whom may not have had a Christmas otherwise.
The second-annual Holiday Celebration featured a visit from Santa first thing in the morning before the Gold Wing motorcycles arrived just before 9 a.m.
The Gold Wing Riders adopted the school last year and selected a group of families that would receive some extra holiday cheer this year, said Principal Monica Broughton.
For many of these children, Christmas would be pretty bleak without them.
“Beverly Burke with the Foundation for Lee County Public Schools recommended us to them,” Broughton said. “Our free and reduced lunch ratio is around 86 percent, so with the help of our teachers, certain families were selected, families we know are in need.”
Laura Reed, 2012 Golden Apple recipient, coordinated the event
Everybody then converged on the physical education building, where kids and their parents were treated to performances by the Lariats & Lace line dance team and the Littleton “Hooting Owlets” chorus before the children were sent to get their gifts, have pictures taken with Santa and snack on cupcakes courtesy of the Cupcake Express.
“We want to help out and this is the time of the year when everyone wants to get in the spirit and help those less fortunate,” said Larry Kirchner, assistant director of the Gold Wing motorcycle group.
“This event will help these kids have a happy holiday. It’s possible these kids would not have seen anything,” Broughton said. “With this, it ensures they have a happy Christmas. When the motorcycles came down the ramp, I was filled with emotion. It’s a good feeling to be a part of this.”
There are more than 80,000 people in the Gold Wing Road Riders Association throughout the world, all of whom do what they can to help those less fortunate.
Robinson Elementary has another program going on called “Food for Thought,” also courtesy of the Foundation for Lee County Public Schools, where families who were eligible will also receive some needed groceries.
“With students out of school for more than two weeks during winter break, many children who rely on free breakfast and lunch at school could be left hungry. We are happy to have been able to purchase even more food from Harry Chapin Food Bank this time,” the foundation said in a statement.
The initiative has been funded by foundation board members Brent Crawford and Joe Mitchell, and through help from Busey Bank and its subsidiary, Trevett Capital.