Sunday morning, Santa Claus traded in his sleigh and led a surge of gift bearing hogs. For many children the holiday can be hard, especially those in foster care or who have been removed from their homes because of abuse.
Hundreds of motorcyclists came together for the 30th Annual Austin Toy Run in hopes of giving them a brighter happier holiday. Nearly 1,000 motorcyclists escorted a trailer filled with hundreds of donated toys. Bikers gathered at Texas Mist and rode to the Helping Hand Home located in Central Austin to deliver presents.
"For a lot of these kids they've never had a Christmas. They see these gifts and think my life matters; someone cares about me," said Ted Keyser executive director of Helping Hand Home.
They were greeted by hundreds of children who were eagerly awaiting their arrival. The toy run benefits the Helping Hand Home which supports and offers services to children who have suffered severe abuse and neglect.
Keyser says a lot of the kids they help have been through a lot early on in their lives, and that receiving a gift can sometimes bring a little hope and happiness to a dark situation.
"When you have experienced what these kids have and have been traumatized something simple like something they can hold something no one can take away from them," said Keyser.
As an assembly line of hands form to unload the gifts, curious kids get an up close look at the bikes.
"To see all those kids come out and they want to touch your bike and shake your hand if we can just give them a good day out of the terrible past they had we want to do that," said Julie Nichols.
Bobby Lasseter has been on the Austin Toy Run Committee since 1999, and says the organization has been donating presents to the children of the Helping Hand Home in Central Austin for 30 years. "These kids have gone through a lot of abuse. This event washes all that away if only for a day it shows them people care about them," said Lasseter.
Long-time participants keep returning year after year, in honor of the kids and the holiday season including bikers like Nichols.
"They know we got their back and will be there for them every single year," said Nichols. She says the kids not only appreciate the toys, but more importantly the presence of hundreds of people that care.
"They will look back and remember that there are good people in this world," said Nichols.