It's one thing to give, it's another thing to give and receive the joy of seeing that gift in the hands of the beholder, and especially so when those hands belong to children and adults with special needs.
Motorcycle riders made their way to Seffner on Dec. 2 for the 19th Annual Cookson Hills Toy Run, a 20-mile trek that begins at the Veterans Memorial Park and Museum in Tampa and ends at Evans Park, adjacent to Burnett Middle School. There, they acted like kids themselves as they watched gift recipients unwrap their toys and gifts.
Some bikers came dressed in seasonal attire, which meant a whole bunch of Santas, Mrs. Clauses and elves. A dove release for kids was a highlighted feature as well.
- See Seffner Resident Gives Back With Ceremonial White Dove Releases
For 19 years Sheri and Bill Brown have been organizing, running and advertising the event that calls upon motorcyclists to ride bearing holiday gifts in a show of compassionate solidarity for special needs people of all ages and now, as well, seniors, veterans with no family and the “forgotten children” of eastern Hillsborough County.
For the Browns it is a labor of love and each year becomes a little bit more taxing to pull off, and especially so over the past few years of economic unrest. Last year, Sheri Brown said, she and her husband almost lost their own money on the venture, and she doesn’t want to feel that stretched again.
That’s why this year a raffle was held at the Dec. 2 toy run to benefit not only the Cookson Hills Toy Run, but also the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital, the Emergency Care Help Organization (ECHO) in Brandon, schools in the Greater Brandon area and other charities.
Here, in photos, is a look back at the Cookson Hills Toy Run, in what has become a signature event in the Greater Brandon community of Seffner.