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Santa delivers gifts to Anne Carlsen Center children

Santa Claus distributed gifts Saturday, July 16, to children at the Anne Carlsen Center as part of the annual Christmas in July event.

Christmas In July bikers 07162022.jpg
Members of the Individual Motorcycle Club and Ladies Individual Motorcycle Club head toward the Anne Carlsen Center Saturday, July 16, on 3rd Street Northwest in Jamestown as part of their annual Christmas in July event.
Masaki Ova / The Jamestown Sun
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JAMESTOWN – Santa Claus distributed gifts Saturday, July 16, to children at the Anne Carlsen Center as part of the annual Christmas in July event.

“I’ve been looking forward to this for so long,” said Chevy Elhard, who dressed up as Santa. “I actually went and got all my hair bleached just for this.”

Members of the Individual Motorcycle Club and Ladies Individual Motorcycle Club rode their motorcycles to the Anne Carlsen Center as the children lined up on the sidewalk to greet them. There were 111 riders who gave 55 children gifts during the event.

“Christmas in July is such a special event for them (motorcycle clubs),” said Ruth Wanzek, vice president of the Central Region at the Anne Carlsen Center. “The kids, they look forward to it.”

Christmas in July 07162022
Santa Claus, played by Chevy Elhard, gives a gift to a child at the Anne Carlsen Center in Jamestown. The Individual Motorcycle Club and Ladies Individual Motorcycle Club distributed gifts to 55 children Saturday, July 16, at the Anne Carlsen Center.
Contributed / Anne Carslen Center

It was the 25th year of the annual Christmas in July event. Wanzek said the clubs do lots of planning to make the event special for the children.

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“They are really thoughtful about the kids and not just putting a T-shirt and a backpack together,” she said. “They are thinking about what can go in the backpack, what do the kids actually need and what could they use this year.”

The clubs give a $50 gift card to the children every year, said Laurie Hayes, president of the Ladies Individuals Motorcycle Club. She said the children received a backpack, T-shirt, a ball, water bottle, beanie and a patch along with other personalized gifts.

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Wanzek said the motorcycle clubs also bought six outdoor water toys for the children to use.

The Christmas in July event isn’t the only thing the motorcycle clubs do to help the Anne Carlsen Center. Wanzek said the groups clean the nature trail, do maintenance on the gazebo and are always looking for other ways to help.

“We can call them up anytime if we’ve got a little project that I think will be right up their alley,” she said. “They are always looking for that opportunity.”

Hayes said the clubs help with Halloween at the Anne Carlsen Center and serve the children pizzas every year.

Last year, the motorcycle clubs were not able to interact with the children because of the coronavirus pandemic. Kay Schempp, member of the Ladies Individual Motorcycle club, said it was "amazing" to see the joy on the children’s faces.

Masaki Ova joined The Jamestown Sun in August 2021 as a reporter. He grew up on a farm near Pingree, N.D. He majored in communications at the University of Jamestown, N.D.
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