’It’s huge this year:’ Toy Run to go on, with changes | TheUnion.com

’It’s huge this year:’ Toy Run to go on, with changes

The Nevada County Food and Toy Run will kick off at noon Saturday, marking its 29th year feeding local families and providing toys to children for the holidays.

Attending motorcyclists will depart from the Eric Rood Administrative Center — 950 Maidu Ave., Nevada City — at that time. Escorted by sheriff’s deputies, they’ll ride together along a route ending at Interfaith Food Ministry in Grass Valley, 440 Henderson St. In past years, the run has ended at the Nevada County Fairgrounds.

On the change in ending location, Nevada County Food and Toy Run Chief Executive Officer Thom Staser said Interfaith Food Ministry was a better fit for the event’s modified format this year, as the nonprofit has been holding drive-thru food distribution events.

“These guys have worked it before, so there will be no learning curve, so to speak,” said Staser.

He also noted that the event’s usual route had to be modified due to Mill Street in Grass Valley being closed to traffic.

Staser said this year’s event is expected to help even more families than usual.

“It’s huge this year,” said Staser, estimating that around 300 families receive food and toys from the nonprofit in other years, and this year, “we will end up doing closer to 430 families.”

According to Staser, participating families have a voucher designating a time slot to come pick up food and toys from the site.

In past years, riders would greet the families as they arrived to receive the donations. This time-slot system, as well as riders dropping off donations and exiting prior to the families beginning to come in, are a couple of the changes made in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Please bring your masks, and stay on or close to your bike,” Staser wrote in an announcement posted to the Nevada County Food and Toy Run website.

In addition, there will be no pre-event service of hot drinks and pastries at the point of departure, nor vendors at the end.

“That is another concession, no pun intended, that we had to make to make the Toy Run a go for 2020,” Staser wrote.

Asked if he thought at any point that the event might not be able to go on this year, Staser replied that he never did. “I just don’t think that way,” he said.

The “number one thing” about this event is taking care of families, said Staser, and he said, “you can’t turn people away that are in need.”

“I started this because I grew up in this area, and we could have used a toy run,” he said.

Calling the event the longest running toy run west of the Mississippi and recounting that it has never been canceled or postponed due to weather or otherwise, Staser said it has been a “really, really lucky” run for the event so far.

“We are something that you just don’t come across every day, so I want to see it keep going,” he said.

Victoria Penate is a staff writer with The Union. She can be reached at vpenate@theunion.com.


Donate to the Nevada County Food and Toy Run through the “Donate” button at: http://www.toyrun.org

Drop off toys at:

Don Adams Antenna Satellite Services

155 Joerschke Drive, Grass Valley

Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday

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