Santa & Co. make a toy run

Don Ratzlaff / Free Press<p>Escorted by 131 motorcycles and 11 classic cars, Santa Claus rides a Chevy pickup down 190th Road from Marion to Hillsboro on Saturday afternoon. Event organizers are expecting more than $13,000 and many gifts for children in the county.

In its 22nd year, the Marion County Toy Run on Saturday drew 131 motorcycles and 11 classic cars down the Main Street of Hills?boro.

Tom Koslowsky, treasurer of the Sons of the American Legion and an event sponsor, said organizers are expecting more than $13,000 after all the donations are received.

Koslowsky said once the money from past Toy Runs is added, the combined total for the 22-year event will be more than $170,000.

?Everybody in Marion County helps out whether it?s a business or individuals,? he said.

Attendance at this year?s auction in the Hillsboro American Legion building was filled to capacity, he said. Auctioned items are donated by area businesses, he said.

The toys delivered to Hillsboro State Bank by the motorcyclists and drivers are distributed, along with money, to four communities in Marion County: Hillsboro, Marion, Peabody and Goessel.

?Some of the proceeds are also split between other children?s organizations in the county,? he added.

In addition to the Sons of the American Legion, groups involved are Route 56 Classic Cars and ABATE District 9 of Kansas, a motorcycle club.

?We had motorcyclists from around Marion County, Wichita, Salina, Emporia and Hutchinson,? Koslowsky said.Patty Decker / Free Press<p>Toys contributed by Toy Run participants pile up around the Christmas tree at Hillsboro State Bank.

The Toy Run was introduced to Marion County by the motorcycle club a few years after one started in McPherson.

?Actually I was (president) of the Sons of the American Legion when the toy run began,? Koslowsky said.

Last year, he said, participation in the toy run was down.

?We only had about 80 motorcycles last year, but it was a much colder day,? he said. ?(Saturday) turned out to be a beautiful day.?

Whether money or toys, the contributions the event brings in are distributed to children.

?We are not involved in the distribution,? he said. ?We leave that up to the organizations in each community.?TOYRunWaving5315

Koslowsky said he appreciates everybody?s efforts and donations.

?All of the communities (in Marion County) have really supported this well over the years and it?s become a really good thing,? he said. ?We enjoy doing it and we think it is doing some good things for children.?

The distribution of checks is tentatively planned for 10 a.m. Dec. 5 at Hillsboro State Bank.

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