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Santa and hundreds of helpers ride during 31st annual Buck Jones Toy Run
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After FCSO deputies, Steven Jett revs his holiday-themed motorcycle up and prepares to commence the 31st annual Buck Jones Memorial Toy Run’s procession as its Santa. - photo by Sabrina Kerns

Hundreds of bikers and jeeps joined one of northeastern Georgia’s largest toy runs this past Sunday with the same goals: Collect donations for children in need this holiday season, and have a good time doing it. 

The Nov. 20 toy run, hosted by the Buck Jones Charity Foundation, began at the Cumming Fairgrounds, stopped at Dawson County’s Veterans Park and concluded at Lumpkin County High School (LCHS). 

This story continues below.

Toy and card donations were split between local agencies The Place of Forsyth County and Bald Ridge Lodge, K.A.R.E. for Kids, DFCS Lumpkin County and Community Helping Place. 

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Before leaving from the Cumming Fairgrounds, Steve Paras and another toy run volunteer divvy up the various toy donations for children in Forsyth, Dawson and Lumpkin counties. - photo by Sabrina Kerns

The donations will then be given to area families who need help with Christmas.

But before leaving the fairgrounds Sunday morning, event organizer Don Parkinson thanked each of the participants for donating and continuing the legacy of Buck Jones, former Cumming Police Chief.

“None of us would do this if Buck hadn’t had thought of it 31 years ago, so just remember Buck in your prayers,” Parkinson said.

He then invited Jones' widow, Treva Jones, to cut the ribbon blocking the exit to the Fairgrounds, officially opening up the passage for the parade to ride to its next stops.

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Event organizer Don Parkinson, center right, listens as Treva Jones, the widow of former Cumming Police Chief Buck Jones, speaks. The Buck Jones Memorial Toy Run was established as a way to continue the late police chief’s legacy. - photo by Sabrina Kerns

“I just want to say thank you all so much for coming out this year and for the support,” Treva said. “You all know it’s not about us. It’s not about you. It’s about the little children.”

Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office deputies escorted the lengthy motorcade from the fairgrounds to Veterans Park and LCHS. 

Dawson volunteers helped haul K.A.R.E.’s allotted bags and bags of donations to a separate truck from the main donation trailer. 

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Before the event motorcade arrives at Veterans Park, volunteers unload donations from the toy run’s main trailer to go toward families served by Dawson County’s K.A.R.E. For Kids nonprofit. - photo by Julia Hansen

When the motorcade arrived at Veterans Park, volunteers were ready for them, with 

several stations ready to go for riders to dig in and enjoy warm chili and cornbread provided by K.A.R.E. and restaurants Miller’s Ale House, Texas Roadhouse and Crave Hot Dogs & BBQ.

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Toy run participants line up at tables like this station, staffed by K.A.R.E. volunteers, for a much-appreciated lunch of chili and other assorted sides. - photo by Julia Hansen

Before Sunday’s event, the foundation had already amassed at least $32,000 in donations, which was close to the 2021 amount collected and well on the way to the charity’s $50,000 goal, Paras previously said. 

“I didn’t know what to expect with the cold weather, but it’s still more people than last year,” said K.A.R.E. President Rhonda Evans.

Looking around at the participants, event organizer Steve Paras called the response “an amazing turnout” and predicted the charity run was “definitely going to do better than last year.”

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FCSO deputies lead the toy run motorcade into its last stop at Lumpkin County High School. - photo by Julia Hansen

“We want to thank all of the clubs that [participated] — the Punishers, the Patriots, the Windows Sons, North Georgia Riders, Blue Knights,” Parkinson said. “All of you guys have done a tremendous job.”

Steven Jett from the North Georgia Mountain Riders reiterated the main reason riders like him commit to the annual toy run. For the past years, Jett has led the procession as its bona fide Santa, taking the time to adorn his bike with holiday cheer before the event. 

“I enjoy every bit of it,” Jett said. “I don't have kids myself, so I donate to help these kids in the hard times, especially [during] the past few years.”

Note: Sabrina Kerns contributed Forsyth-specific reporting for this article. This article will be updated online with donation totals.