Chicago motorcycle parade: Thousands of motorcyclists deliver Toys for Tots donations for local kids

ByStephanie Wade WLS logo
Sunday, December 3, 2023
Thousands of motorcyclists deliver Toys for Tots donations
The annual Chicagoland Toys for Tots 2023 motorcycle parade kicked off near the Dan Ryan Woods Sunday morning.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Two big events rolled in on Sunday to gift toys to kids this holiday season.

In Lake County, Illinois, Jeeps on the Run hosted its annual Chicagoland Toys for Tots donation event.

On the South Side, what's called the world's largest motorcycle parade benefitted Toys for Tots. For more than 40 years, the Toys for Tots Motorcycle Parade has graced the South Side of Chicago.

"It's great, it's great. Nothing like the rumble of thunder!" said Shade, who lives in Worth.

It's what's being called the World's Largest Motorcycle Parade in the Dan Ryan Woods Forest Preserve.

Decked out motorcycles with fun and festive lights all carried toys to be donated to kids in need.

DONATE | Disney Ultimate Toy Drive delivers joy to kids in need this holiday season

"Every underprivileged child around Chicagoland should have a Christmas, don't you think?" said Toys for Tots Motorcycle Parade President Lester Fortier.

Motorcycle riders from across the country have been coming to Chicago for the annual event on the first Sunday in December.

"Everybody comes out. Guys, they don't ride in the cold, they'd be at home. But, they come out for this, though," said William Skip Boyd, who lives in Joliet.

"To see their appreciation and the amount of people that come out every year and stand on the sidelines in the bad weather, the good weather cheering you on, it really warms your heart," said Kelly Doherty, who lives in Mokena. "Our toy team works diligently to pick out toys for the children. Something they're interested in, something that's age appropriate and to know that they've got something, just a little something underneath their tree."

Scott Doolittle brought 16 toys this year.

"What did I bring? I brought a pile," said Doolittle, who lives in Skokie. "I have stuff for 3-year-olds, I have stuff for 10-year-olds, all the way up to large games for older kids."

Last year, the organization helped 43,000 children in Chicago, and they hope to care for even more.

"Anybody that reaches out to us, we try to help no matter what we can do," said Toys for Tots Motorcycle Parade Vice President Tom Dertz. "There's nothing written in stone to help a kid. We'll do anything for a kid."