Santa Claus was one of nearly 300 riders Sunday in the 19th Annual Buck Jones Memorial Toy Run.
The procession dropped off toys at stops in Dawsonville, Cumming and Dahlonega to help local organizations provide Christmas presents for children in need.
Jones, a former Cumming police chief who also worked for the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office, started the toy drive after seeing a lack of charities helping families with presents at Christmas.
Jones died in September at age 70.
His widow, Treva Jones, was overwhelmed by the support the ride received Sunday.
“It’s such a tribute to him, because he had a passion for the children of Forsyth, Dawson and Lumpkin counties who wouldn’t get Christmas,” she said.
The first toy ride drew about five riders, according to organizers.
“Today it’s 286, and they just keep coming and growing,” she said. “Buck, he’s definitely here today in spirit.”
Longtime supporter Gordon Pirkle said the number of riders “proves what Buck meant to this community.”
“He’s got a lots of heroes up here,” Pirkle said. “It makes me feel good. I’m so proud.”
The toys donated Sunday in Dawsonville will benefit KARE for Kids’ effort to provide Christmas to Dawson County children in need.
“Lots and lots of the toys we’re receiving are on our lists already, so everything is going to be well used,” said Robin Smith, KARE for Kids spokeswoman.
Last year, KARE provided Christmas to nearly 700 children in Dawson County.
The organization is taking applications through Dec. 6 for this year’s effort.
For more information, call (706) 216-5273, or go online at www.kareforkids.us.