COVID travel restrictions in Victoria will force this year’s 43rd Melbourne Toy Run to operate as a virtual event.
The Melbourne Motorcycle Toyrun has run every December since 1978, but currently, Melbourne residents are only allowed to travel 25km from home and outdoor groups are restricted to 10.
There is little hope that these restrictions will be eased enough and in time for the traditional toy run.
So, the organisers are asking riders to decorate their bikes with Christmas decorations and bring toys, food, and donations to the
Salvation Army Christmas Appeals at various locations in small groups and post the results on the Melbourne Toy Run Facebook page.
The same happened to this year’s annual worldwide Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride in September, resulting in only half the number of participants and amount of funds raised.
However, Victorian Motorcycle Council Chair Graham Solomon says this year is it is more important than ever to show support for the Salvos.
“With the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions still in place and Government support winding back, there are more families than ever doing it hard to put food on the table, let alone toys for the kids,” he says.
“It is vital for the motorcycle community to continue to support the Salvos in this worthy cause as they do each year.
“As restrictions ease, the Victorian Motorcycle Council encourages Victorian riders to enjoy a ride in small groups this Christmas ensuring they stay safe and obey the COVID-19 safety regulations.”
Major Mark Kop from the Salvation Army says the virtual toy run is another example of how we are “learning to do things in new ways”.
“The Salvation Army has found new ways of working that have been surprising to us and incredibly effective as well,” he says.
“The Victorian Motorcycle Council has shown leadership and swung into action through their online approach.
“We know that thousands of families are going to experience the Christmas they would never have expected.
“Given all the pressures of 2020 we will be able, together, to bring joy, hope and Christmas cheer to those who need it most”.
Meanwhile, the Melbourne-based Toy Run for Father Bob is expected to go ahead on Sunday, December 6, at this stage.
However, it will be a scaled-down event with a new location at Father Bob’s foundation warehouse, 204 Gladstone Street, South Melbourne from 11am-1pm.
In NSW, the 43rd Newcastle Toy Run will collect gifts, but the ride is off.
The 41st MRA Toy Run in Tasmania will go ahead as a ticketed event.