Christmas in July: Elks Lodge, Jack Aces team up for annual toy run

Jack Aces Club President Derrick Barton, right, speaks to some of the other motorcycle club members in attendance at the Christmas in July event at the Cullman Elks Lodge Saturday, July 16, 2022. (Sammy Confer for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – The Cullman Elks Lodge teamed up with the Jack Aces motorcycle club once again to host the groups’ annual Christmas in July Toy Run Saturday morning. The event, which benefits local nonprofit Curt’s Christmas (formerly Christmas Love), saw dozens of bikers participating in the three-hour charity ride. Attendees donated a toy or $10. In the end, the total amount of cash raised was $1,048, which, along with the toys, will go toward making Christmas special for area children later this year.

Jack Aces Club President Derrick Barton said he is grateful to help host an amazing event to help kids.

“As a club, Jack Aces generally hosts two to three benefits a year. I’m a member here at the Elks Lodge, along with a lot of my club members. It started about four to five years ago as a benefit for (Christmas Love). That’s what it’s all about. You can either bring a donation or a toy. It’s a semi-local ride inside and outside the county and the money will go to Curt’s Christmas,” he said.

“It’s great to have something like this. We’re always into charitable contributions. That’s what the Elks Lodge is about: giving back. I have a lot of friends here, so we enjoy giving back, especially to the kids. There was around 60-70 bikers (today). That’s a pretty good turnout,” Barton added.

Gwen Parker of the Elks Lodge said she was happy to host the event, and that so many people came out to show their support.  

“It’s great to have the event because it helps out a lot of children around Christmastime and families that will not be able to provide gifts for their children otherwise. We partnered with them (Jack Aces) to try to make it as successful as possible,” she said. “We provided a place for them to leave from. We provided breakfast, then when they came back, we provided lunch for them. We had around 60 bikers, so we got $600, plus everybody that brought a gift. A lot of people made donations and that’s given to the benefit as well.”

Elks Lodge Exalted Ruler Jackie Ridgeway echoed Parker’s enthusiasm.

“It’s very special to have an event like this for the kids. That’s what the Elks Lodge does. We’re very charitable and we sponsor a lot of kids and events for the veterans. We’re a very charitable organization, so we’re there to give back to the community. This lodge has given over $3.3 million dollars to the community here in Cullman,” he said. “It’s a great event today. There (were) between 60-70 bikes in the ride today, so it was a great turnout today. Anytime you want to help the kids or veterans, we have a great turnout in the community.”

Curt’s Christmas is run by local nonprofit Curt’s Closet. Find out more by calling 256-735-4557.

Copyright 2022 Humble Roots, LLC. All Rights Reserved.