south miami-dade

Motorcyclists donate toys, gifts to low-income families in South Miami-Dade

 
 
Biker Julio Fuentes was among the group of bikers participating in the Annual Migrant Children's Toy Run for low income families. The motorcyclists met at Peterson's Harley Davidson South on U.S. One and drove in a caravan down to Home Grace, a migrant workers’ neighborhood in Homestead on Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013.
Biker Julio Fuentes was among the group of bikers participating in the Annual Migrant Children's Toy Run for low income families. The motorcyclists met at Peterson's Harley Davidson South on U.S. One and drove in a caravan down to Home Grace, a migrant workers’ neighborhood in Homestead on Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013.
PEDRO PORTAL / EL NUEVO HERALD STAFF

eflor@elNuevoHerald.com

Marina Pérez’s Christmas blessing arrived on wheels.

The family of the 28-year-old Guatemalan mother of five was one of hundreds that benefited from nearly a thousand Harley Davidson motorcyclists who went to Homestead on Sunday to give out toys and shoes to low-income immigrant children.

“This is marvelous, you don’t know how happy we feel,” said Pérez, who works at a fruit shop in Homestead.

“My children are very happy with all the toys and shoes we have received.”

For the past eight years, the growing group of Miami motorcyclists has organized a caravan that rides out of the Harley-Davidson store in Cutler Bay to bring happiness to humble communities in the southern part of Miami-Dade County.

After riding 15 miles on the bus corridor parallel to U.S. 1, the motorcyclists arrived at the Everglades neighborhood along Southwest 380th Street and 193rd Avenue at about 11:30 a.m.

A long line of children and their parents awaited them, said René Sardinas, president of Chrome Knights, one of Miami’s motorcycle associations that organized the event.

Jenny Love, who is part of the group, said that in that community alone 320 pairs of shoes were delivered, as well as nearly 1,000 pairs of socks, and toys for more than 450 children.

After a couple of hours, the caravan left for West Homestead primary school at 1550 SW Sixth St., where toys were delivered to 80 children.

“Each motorcyclist brought at least one gift for these children who need them so much,” said Love, who drives a 1998 Harley Davidson model Soft Tail. “It’s a pleasure for all of us to support our Latin community.”

Representatives of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) attended the event, among them Juan Carlos Sánchez and Libby Pérez, who helped in the massive distribution of gifts.

“This is the type of effort that inspires others to join in a solidarity chain in South Florida,” Pérez said. “And it also gives hope to very poor children at such a special time as Christmas.”

Marco Hernández, who is vice president of the Chrome Knigths, said the caravan has become a tradition that inspires a growing number of people to help the community.

“We motorcyclists are sometimes seen as gang members in jeans, boots, and leather jackets,” said Hernández, 57, general manager of a company that operates at PortMiami.

“But most of us are people who leave behind our shirts and ties of our day jobs to venture out on the road on weekends, and what better purpose can our caravans find than bringing happiness to poor homes in our city.”

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