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Jamestown HOGS ride to support backpack program

When Paul Heer and his fellow Harley Owners Group riders take off from Jamestown Sunday afternoon, they will be riding to support the Community Action Region VI Week End Back Pack for Kids program.

Jamestown HOG Chapter 1955 will host the Bikers for Kids ride starting at 12:30 p.m. The riders will take off from Stutsman Harley-Davidson at that time and return to the dealership for burgers and brats.

Registration for the ride starts at 10 a.m. and is $15 per driver and $10 per rider. Other vehicles are welcome to join as well.

Heer said the Jamestown HOG chapter had held a fundraiser ride in the past for the James River Humane Society, called Hogs for Dogs.

“We decided to do something for the kids, and Karla Bachmeier suggested the backpack program,” he said.

Sarah Oberlander, food pantry coordinator for Community Action Region VI, said the Week End Back Pack for Kids program provides a backpack filled with nonperishable food items that will feed a child for a weekend, for children in grades kindergarten through fifth grade. Children are only given the backpacks if their families request them. The program is offered at the Louis L’Amour, Roosevelt, Lincoln and Washington elementary schools in Jamestown. A letter goes out to all families of students in those schools in mid-September and backpack distributions start in October.

Oberlander said the cost to fill a backpack is $15. The program cost is generally $10,000 per school. She said Dakota Brands is a sponsor of the Week End Back Pack for Kids program and provides bagels each week.

“We started with 98 children our first weekend in October and got to a high of 110 children in the middle of the school year,” Oberlander said about the demand Community Action is seeing for the program.

Community Action is always taking donations for the program, mainly monetary donations, but also backpacks. Oberlander said the students are supposed to return the backpacks when they return from a weekend, but that doesn’t always happen.

“Sometimes a student needs a backpack,” she said.

John Seifert, general manager at Stutsman Harley-Davidson, said Community Action will have an information table setup during registration for the run with a couple of the backpacks and the food that will be provided to the children through the program on display. There will be some people from Community Action there as well to answer questions.

Seifert said he thinks there is a lot of interest in the Bikers for Kids ride.

“We are getting a lot of people complimenting us for doing something that will help people,” he said.

For more information about the Bikers for Kids ride call Stutsman Harley-Davidson at 252-5271. For more information about Community Action Region VI or the Week End Back Pack for Kids program, call 252-1821.

Chris Olson

Hometown: Traverse City, MI College: Northwestern Michigan College and Michigan State University

(701) 952-8454