Members of the Ghost Riders Motorcycle Club traded their helmets for Santa hats again this year as they raised over $10,000 to help buy Christmas for over 100 families this year.

A lot of funding comes from the club’s annual toy run. This year approximately 110 motorcycles started from Boxcar Grille through downtown Marion to Old Fort to raise money and donate toys for needy families.

“This year it was over 100 families that needed help. This club raised $10,000 here within six to seven weeks. We made sure we got what they needed,” said James Johnsons of the Ghost Riders Club.

The club teamed up with New Testament Baptist Church of Old Fort to find out the wants and needs of children and distribute gifts and bicycles.

“I know what it’s like not to have Christmas. I know what it’s like not to have a lot of things, and there are a lot of families that need this,” said Johnson. “It doesn’t help one family; it helps a lot of families. And that’s why we do it, to give back. We are a non-profit club and we save up and what we have, we will donate it. That’s the difference between a club and a gang. Everybody has been good to us.”

The club has been around since 1971 and spans through Tennessee, Virginia and North Carolina. There are around 300 members, and about 20 or so in McDowell County.

“Everything we do is family-oriented. We are from McDowell County, so we do what we can for the county. The county has been good to us. We respect the public and we respect people. We are doing this a service to the community,” said Johnson,

Members of the New Testament Baptist Church were busy wrapping and distributing gifts and food to families on Friday and Saturday. Jenny Kidd is the Pastor Harry Kidd’s wife and said they are so thankful for the Ghost Riders.

“It means the world. The Lord put us here to take care of each other and how else are we going to show God’s love if you don’t reach out? We feel it is an honor to use the Lord. We are thankful for the Ghost Riders. I think the bikers get a bad rap, but we have found them to be no different than the rest of us; they just like to ride bikes,” said Kidd.

She said the ladies of the church have been wrapping every Tuesday for about a month in preparation for the Christmas giveaway. The church also purchased gifts for 23 families and gave Christmas dinners out including ham, pie and all the fixings.

“It turned out wonderful. I think it even over did their estimation. We are just thankful we are able to be a part of it,” said Kidd.

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