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The fourth annual Derby toy run will be coming up on July 11, with all money raised through the event going toward Operation Holiday.

Oh the weather outside is frightful  though perhaps in a different way than implied in the traditional Christmas carol, “Let it Snow.” While we have traded winter flurries for heat waves, one annual summer event is set to embrace the Christmas spirit next month.

American Legion Post 408 and Operation Holiday Derby will host the fourth annual Toy Run on July 11. The toy run will start at 9 a.m. at Warren Riverview Park, branch out to Wichita area motorcycle businesses and conclude back at the Derby park, with the last vehicles to return by 1 p.m.

Participants will be able to take part in a poker run, picking up a card at each location on the route, with awards given out for the best hand and lowest hand. There will also be a silent auction, raffle, lunch and Christmas in July craft fair at The Lodge at Warren Riverview Park throughout the day, with all money raised going towards Operation Holiday.

Entry fee to take part in the toy run is $10 with a toy (and $20 without) by July 6, with fees going up $5 after that. Additionally, Post 408 public relations officer Michael Saindon noted anyone is encouraged to take part in the event.

“It’s open to anybody who wants to participate, whether they have a motorcycle or not. Two-wheel, four-wheel, six-wheel, we don’t care. We just want everybody to support it,” Saindon said.

Last year, 54 riders (the largest group yet) took part in the toy run and $4,500 was raised for Operation Holiday. This year, Saindon said the goal is to get closer to 100 riders taking part in the toy run.

For those who have participated previously, it is clearly a worthwhile event with some even coming from as far away as Kansas City to take part.

“Everyone who has ever participated in the first year, they’ve been back. I don’t know of any of them who haven’t returned,” Saindon said.

Operation Holiday fundraising chairperson Lesley Eliasen stated that on top of increased participation the goal is to generate at least $1,000 more in donations than the previous year.

Normally, there are a couple of fundraisers held for Operation Holiday throughout the year, but the toy run is the kickoff event and goes quite a ways toward the program’s mission of purchasing toys and food for USD 260 families in need during the holiday season, according to Eliasen and Saindon.

“Derby’s like any other community. We have a lot of people who are in need of stuff like this. That’s what the real purpose of it is, to be able to take care of our own community,” Saindon said. “It’s a huge impact to those kids. There’s a lot of kids who may not get a Christmas gift without our donation.”

Additional community engagement opportunities are outlined at www.derbyoperationholiday.org. Those interested in registering for the toy run can do so by filling out the bottom half of the flyer available on the Operation Holiday Derby Facebook page and mailing it to 620 N. Rock Rd., Suite 230-316, Derby, KS 67037.

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