TEMPLE, TX — Motorcyclists from across Central Texas piled into the American Legion Post 133 parking lot Sunday with gifts in hand.
One of those who came out and donated was Susan Haberland, a single mother, whose kids are now grown.
Waking up to presents under a Christmas tree is a common sight for many. But some aren’t so lucky.
“My kids, so many times as a single mom, got Christmas when we had nothing,” Haberland said. “Not even a tree with no way of having Christmas at all.”
Susan and her kids were homeless, spending the holidays under bridges or in shelters. Now, just two years away from retirement, she gives back because the feeling of having nothing is all too familiar.
“I’m in a position where my kids are grown,” she explained. “ I’m in a position now where I can give back to some other child that needs.”
It’s stories like Susan’s that inspired Bruce Raymond to start an annual toy drive back in 1992.
“You don't know that feeling until you’re standing in front of that little child who didn’t know if they were going to get a Christmas,” Raymond, the chairman of the Tri-County Toy Run said. “That’s all it is. That’s the whole thing, right there.”
28 years later, countless numbers of bikers came bearing gifts and donations for those in need. Even during a pandemic.
“It’s all come together between Bruce and I working together and it’s good this year and it’s going to be better next year,” John Potts, the commander of the American Legion Post 133 in Temple said.
And after living through the toughest times of her life, Susan Haberland wants those receiving donations to know one thing:
“Just keep faith, it’ll all work out eventually,” she said smiling.
The Tri-County Toy Run of Central Texas supported 13,000 children in need last Christmas. Organizers say they’re well on track to surpassing that number this year.