(New Braunfels) -- For at least a dozen families, the delivery of gifts and holiday spirit did not arrive on the back of a sleigh. Instead they were delivered by some helpful elves who prefer motorcycles, leather jackets and the open road.
Members of the New Braunfels Bikers Association this past Saturday handed out approximately 100 gifts to 24 children -- children who without these bikers might not have much to find under the Christmas Tree.
Steve Harrington, NBBA chairperson, says the group which includes a number of motorcycle clubs in the area including members from Seguin and Guadalupe County, were able to once again bless underprivileged families with gifts and a holiday meal. Harrington says the group for the past four years has been raising money and delivering gifts to children through various charities. However, this year, the group opted to do something a bit more different. The group hand delivered the gifts themselves allowing all the families and its membership to come together in celebration.
"We got with Tree of Life Church. They have a person there that is very good at vetting people's needs. People that truly are down on their luck and trying to get by and not able to provide a good Christmas for the kids and so this year, we did over 24 kids this year. This year's event was a lot different. What we did in this year's event, we actually brought the families to a local establishment. Our organization bought all the food. We had guys up cooking briskets all night. We cooked over 14 briskest, mashed potatoes, green beans, bread, the whole spread -- fed them all dinner, had Santa Claus there, gave them all Christmas presents and i t was phenomenal. It was the best event ever, this year. It was really good to be able to do that. A couple of those (families) were (of) a couple of gentlemen we lost this last year. Kurtis Krause...his children (and) another gentleman that goes by the name of Big Country, both killed in motorcycle accidents and both leaving behind very small children," said Harrington.
Harrington says being able to see the direct impact of the group's effort was the best gift that anyone in his group could have ever received this holiday season.
"All of the families showed up. They were truly emotional and very appreciative. One little boy -- in fact, it was the cutest thing -- because like I said, we have Santa Claus in there. We have one of my guys that dresses up like Santa Claus. He sits in the corner and we call the kid's name out and they sit on his lap and get a candy cane and then we hand them a bag of gifts. Now, most of the parents wanted to take the gifts home, because that was all the kids were going to have for Christmas and that's fine because that's what it's all about right? But one little boy who had gotten his bag of presents and was walking back towards his parents -- well, there was bicycle that went with that bag of presents. We hadn't gotten it around the corner yet to show it and when he turned back around and saw that, he lost it. He could not believe that it was his and then mom and dad lost it and that's when somebody walked past me with a tray of onions and I started to lose it. It's hard to explain the feeling. You feel it in your heart," said Harrington.
Harrington says the motorcycle club each year works hard to raise money for the gifts and is thankful to those businesses like Conway's Sports Bar for opening its doors to such a wonderful event.
"Two places that really helped us out...one was Conway's. They opened their doors for us and left the place open all night so we could cook briskets and have everything prepared. Gave us their establishment, paid for music to come in so everybody could have a good time. It's just outstanding what they did for us. Gruene Harley Davidson is another one that I'd really like to have mentioned. I'd like that because every year since we started this, they have volunteered to store the toys as we bring them and they wrap every present for us that we bring through the door. For example, we (had) 24 kids. They must have wrapped close to 100 presents. They don't ask for anything in return. They pay their employees to come in and wrap presents for us and have everything bagged up with names on it and ready to go and never ask for anything in return. That's something! That's what it's all about though. You know what I'm saying? It's all about helping everybody and us all coming together," said Harrington.
Harrington says the NBBA serves as an umbrella for bike clubs throughout the area. He says throughout the year, the membership works to support each other's own respective fundraisers. Then at the end of the year, he says they all come together for this very special cause.
"We started off by having all the motorcycle clubs in the area which is about 18 different motorcycle clubs. They range anywhere from your mom and pop outfit to the Bandidos are involved -- great hearted people. I mean, it's just every realm of every people and there's people that have nothing to do with motorcycle clubs. There's no dues for being a part of the New Braunfels Bikers Association. There's no fees. You're not required to be there. It's nothing along that line. It is 100 percent voluntary. We meet once a month. What we do during that month is we get together and we talk about whose got what events coming up. Everybody volunteers their time. We volunteer to help each other. We support each other constantly and what we're trying to do and by doing this, hopefully, is get the word out to the public that 'hey, we need help.' The more money we raise, the more kids we can help because our budget is very small. We don't keep any money. We don't spend any money on ourselves. We don't spend any money on the marketing. We spend money on the kids. If we raise $3,000, we spend $3,000 on the kids. That's just the way it is," said Harrington.
Those wishing to join the NBBA or who are willing to support the group's efforts during next year's holiday season are encouraged to contact the group via its Facebook page.