Meals on wheels: Bikers deliver complete Thanksgiving feasts to needy
By Lisa DeNeal Post-Tribune correspondent November 28, 2012 3:48PM
Tony Harris (right) carries a tote and Carl Hunter carries a frozen turkey as members of the 219 Riderz Motorcycle Club gather at Brunswick Elementary School before delivering turkey dinners in Gary, Ind. | Stephanie Dowell~Sun-Times Media
Members of the Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club and 219 Riderz Motorcycle Club provided complete Thanksgiving meals to needy families during separate holiday missions Nov. 17 in Gary and Northwest Indiana.
The 219 Riderz, a club that began seven years
ago, delivered six large turkeys and boxes of side dishes to families living in the Brunswick neighborhood of Gary.
The members, on motorcycles and in cars and trucks, met in the drop-off lot at Brunswick Elementary at 5701 W. 7th Ave. Riderz member Rick “Big Ric” Castill of Gary said the families receiving the meals were part of the Brunswick Elementary family by way of students.
“The school’s counselor helped pick out which families were in need of assistance this Thanksgiving. We put our money into going to the stores and getting the turkeys and items like stuffing mix, vegetables, items to make desserts. Everything needed for Thanksgiving is here,” he said.
Castill attended Brunswick Elementary as a
child so it has a sentimental meaning to do something for the neighborhood.
Dorothie Riley of Gary was one of the people receiving a turkey dinner from 219 Riderz. She and some of her children stood in the front doorway as the bikers and vehicles made their arrival.
“I have kids and I am also taking care of my sister’s children so this will help a lot,” Riley said, adding that she is also a volunteer parent at Brunswick.
Castill said they wanted people to know that many motorcycle clubs are not the stereotypical negative groups of bikers.
“We are not like the bikers on the cable TV series ‘Sons of Anarchy’ and stuff like that. We care about our community,” he said.
Meanwhile, members of the Indiana Chapter of the Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club met at the former Bennigan’s parking lot in Gary to load up and deliver 21 boxes filled with a turkey, ham and side dishes to families in Gary, Merrillville, Portage and East Chicago.
Club member Greg Blackmon Sr. said this is the club’s seventh year doing the giveaway.
“This and Toys for Tots are examples of what we do in the region,” he said.
Coordinator and Buffalo Soldiers member April Brown said delivering Thanksgiving meals to families is fulfilling.
“So many people are struggling right now and we as a community should help others in need. You don’t know what people are going through,” she said.