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Annual Empty Stocking Toy Run set for Saturday

By Joe Holloway
Nov. 27, 2012 at 10 p.m.

The 12th Annual Empty Stocking Toy Run is set to make its annual tour around Marshall on Saturday starting at 10 a.m.

The parade of classic cars, trucks and motorcycles that helps collect presents to donate to the Empty Stocking Fund, which in turn gives them to needy children in the area, will start at the Heritage House at 5915 Elysian Fields Rd. and end up at the Marshall Mall.

"We meet out at the Heritage House out on Highway 31 at 10 a.m. and look at each other's vehicles, talk about cars, talk about trucks, look at the motorcycles," said Bill Mills, a professor of computer science of 29 years at East Texas Baptist University who helps organize the event. "We have food. We have drinks, fellowship time. The police show up on their motorcycles and we just follow them around town. We just have a big parade. Then we end up at the mall and we take all the presents in to the Empty Stocking Fund."

Mills said anyone with a car, truck or motorcycle that wants to participate is more than welcome to, but that they should bring an unwrapped present to donate to the Empty Stocking Fund.

"If you want to come and participate, that's great, bring your car, your truck, your motorcycle, but also bring an unwrapped present," he said. "Then we take these things and put them in trailers and go on our parade."

Folks that just want to donate a gift but don't want to be in the parade are welcome to do that as well.

"All the people who are in the parade bring presents but people also donate them to us," said Mills. "All the presents are collected before the parade. They either bring them to the Heritage House or give them to me and I'll bring them to the Heritage House."

Mills said he hopes the event is able to pull in a good amount of presents.

"We have trailers that we pull behind the motorcycles or we open up the trunks of the cars or whatever and we just fill them up," he said. "We'll get a couple of hundred presents for the Empty Stocking Fund. We'll end up at the mall and we'll just donate all the presents."

Mills has been a part of the event since it first started collecting presents for the Empty Stocking Fund 12 years ago.

"We just saw a need," he said. "This year, for the Empty Stocking Fund, there are 300 children's names on the list, but there are 250 on a waiting list that we don't know if we're going to have enough presents to handle that many. So we have the main list and we have the waiting list.

"The more presents we have; the more children can be served."

Overall, Mills said it's just a good opportunity to gather and have a good time while helping out a good cause.

"This is just a support function of the Empty Stocking Fund," he said. "We love trucks, cars and motorcycles. We go to the car shows around here and we help each other build these motorcycles and cars and trucks and we just have a parade.

"We just have a good time."



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