Motorcycle club’s Flanders toy drive nets 1,500 toys for kids


A bunch of children in need are going to have a brighter Christmas this year thanks to a local motorcycle club’s efforts.

The 14.5 Motorcycle Club’s Family and Friends Toy Drive and Christmas Party in Flanders last Sunday drummed up about 1,500 donations of toys, according to organizer Wayne Meyer of Flanders.

That support far surpassed Mr. Meyers’ original guess for how many toys they would collect.

The drive was organized by Mr. Meyers, Jessica Mayo,  Anthony Pace, and other members of the 15-member motorcycle club.

“We were just sitting around talking one night and we said, ‘Let’s try to help out our community,’ ” Mr. Meyer said Wednesday. “We’ve had a lot of things going on here in the last few weeks, with all the break-ins and robberies, and we just decided to get the community together for something positive. We want to give back.”

People who attended the party on Sunday were asked to bring a toy to donate one or two toys, which would then be donated to children from needy families who can’t afford toys.

14.5 Motorcycle Club members Tom Podlas, Wayne Meyer, Mike Pace, Jessica Mayo, Anthony Pace, and Nick Watts, in front of the trailer loaded with donated toys. (Credit: Courtesy)

There were about 200 people at the event, Mr. Meyer said.

“We’re going to donate them to about six or seven families in Flanders and we’re going to donate some to the Living Water Gospel Church in Riverhead,” he said. They also plan to donate toys to some foster families through a group called Hope for Youth, Mr. Meyer said.

“There’s been so much bad stuff going on in Flanders lately, this was something nice,” said Vickie Farrugia of Flanders, who attended the event. “There’s a lot of good people here.”

Mr. Meyer said Rich Yastrzemski of Southampton, who is running for a Town Board seat, brought a pickup truck filled with toys to be donated.

Does the club plan to make this an annual event?”Absolutely,” Mr. Meyer said.

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Photo caption: Club members sort and count the hundreds of toys donated for needy children Wednesday. (Credit: courtesy photo)