Annual Nevada County Food and Toy Run set for Dec. 12 |

Annual Nevada County Food and Toy Run set for Dec. 12

Bikers on East Main Street in Grass Valley, on their way to the fairgrounds, for the Toy Run in 2012.
John Hart/ | The Union

The 24th Annual Nevada County Food and Toy Run will take place on Dec. 12.

It is a “critical” time as funds are being raised through sponsorships, donation and T-shirt sales, said organizer Thom Staser.

The Nevada County Food and Toy Run was formed in 1991 to bring a better Christmas to low-income families of Nevada County.

Over the years, the toy run has formed partnerships with the local Head Start and Big Brothers Big Sisters programs. It has also provided food and toys to an average of 325-350 families. Each family gets their choice of a turkey or a 5-pound canned ham, a 5-10 pound bag of potatoes and a grocery bag of canned food. Each child, approximately 1,500-1,750 a year, get their pick of three toys each.

As the Toy Run has gotten bigger, from 90 motorcycles the first year to almost 2,000, the expense has grown as well.

“We raise most of our funds in a very short window, November and December,” Staser said. “The Toy Run holds the distinction of never having been rained or snowed out, date moved or canceled. As we are, obviously, an outdoor event, a 100-year storm, rain or snow, would wipe us out, literally.

“We are trying to raise enough money before the event to insure that we have enough money to pay for all of the fees, permits, food and all of the behind-the-scenes expenses that no one sees,” he added.

To this end, Staser has started a GoFundMe account at which is due to expire on Dec. 1.

The Toy Run has been recognized by the California State Senate, California State Assembly and the United States Congress for its charity work. The event has the full support of all four law enforcement agencies, as well as both Nevada City and Grass Valley City Councils and the Nevada County Board of Supervisors, according to a press release.

Each year, 10,000-13,000 people line the streets from Nevada City to Grass Valley and out to the Nevada County Fairgrounds to watch the heavily laden bikes as they go by.

The riders bring their toys into the Northern Mines Building for sorting and displaying. At 1:30 p.m., the children and families are let in to pick out their toys. The public is welcome to come and watch the toys being picked up and to see how their financial donations are being spent.

To become a sponsor, or to purchase a long-sleeved Toy Run shirt, contact

To learn more about the Toy Run, go to or

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