Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Christmas in September

MSRA Toy Run collects a mountain of fun and funds for children

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Last Sunday, the Manitoba Street Rod Association (MSRA) hosted their annual Toy Run at the taxation centre parking lot near Kildonan Place Shopping Centre.

Thanks to amazing weather and the generous hearts of local classic and special-interest vehicle owners, the turnout was better than ever.

"This year we had 378 cars register and collected a mountain of toys and also raised more than $3,000 in support of the Rehabilitation Centre for Children," said longtime MSRA member and Toy Run chairman George Knight. "The toys are donated to the Rehab Centre and when kids go there for an appointment there is a room full of toys that they can pick from and bring one home with them."

Everyone who showed and shined their vehicle at the event dropped off a new unwrapped toy at the front gate on the way in, and by mid-afternoon a cargo van was packed to the roof with a variety of toys that included games, stuffed animals and more than a few miniature cars and trucks.

In addition to MSRA members and independent local cruisers from around the province, a number of local car clubs also join in the spirit of giving.

This year, the Manitoba Oldsmobile Car Club donated a pair of bicycles and more than 30 members from the MBLX car club collectively raised more than $900 and donated three battery-operated children's cars to the Rehab Centre.

More than a few of the cruisers in attendance wanted to try out the pair of Dodge Charger police cruisers, but thankfully they were saved for the kids.

"It's important to give back to the community and the Rehab Centre does so much good work," said MBLX club member Llew Taylor. "I've had the opportunity to tour the facility and meet some of the people who work there and they do a tremendous job. We understand how the toys can really brighten a child's day and it makes us feel great to be part of that joy." The remainder of the money the club raised was spent on Animal Planet educational toys that will surely keep kids occupied while visiting the centre.

The giving didn't stop there and wasn't exclusive to the cruiser crowd. Near the end of the day, a couple with no apparent ties to the car scene pulled into the parking lot in a late-model pickup and donated another pair of children's bicycles.

MSRA president Chris Jelfs was quick to thank everyone involved for another successful Toy Run. "We want to thank all of our sponsors, all the people who came out with their amazing vehicles and donated toys and of course all the volunteers from the MSRA who worked so hard to make this a perfect day," said Jelfs. "Everybody cares about kids and really want to help any way they can and I think that's what brings people out in such large numbers and also brings out their generosity."

In addition to the Toy Run, the MSRA supports the Children's Rehabilitation Foundation throughout the year with cash donations and the gift of specially adapted Freedom Concepts mobility bicycles at their Rodarama car show, held every spring at the East End Arena in Transcona. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the MSRA, one of the province's oldest car clubs with 150 members.

-- -- --

The cruising season may be winding down, but there is still time to get one last show and shine under your bumper as the Grant Park Pony Corral restaurant offers the final cruise night of the year this Sunday. Presented by the Manitoba Pontiac Association and hosted by Willy's Garage, the event will feature a huge variety of fantastic prizes and runs from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. In previous years, more than 700 classic and special-interest vehicle owners have showcased their prized rides at the event and this year promises to be bigger and better than ever. See you there.

willy@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 5, 2012 F5

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