Members of Babes Out On Bikes were part of the group helping to buy Christmas items for children. (DHI Media/Sherry Missler)
Members of Babes Out On Bikes were part of the group helping to buy Christmas items for children. (DHI Media/Sherry Missler)

VAN WERT — As the calendar turns from November to December, thoughts turn more and more to Christmas. And what is Christmas but a time of giving? Saturday evening, aisles at Walmart were filled with members of the Wetzel MC, their families, and other volunteers searching for just the right gifts for those in need. This event is better known to the club as the annual Wetzel Christmas Toy Buy.

Tony Krick, a spokesman for the group, said that the Toy Buy is something he and others look forward to each year.

“We do this every year," said Krick. "It’s a favorite activity for all of us; we shop for any number of people that wouldn’t have a Christmas without us.”

He explained that the club raises money throughout the year to provide the funds necessary. Then they partner with the local Salvation Army which provides them with tags from their Angel Tree. Each tag represents a child, containing the child’s age, clothing size and wish list information. The club uses the lists to purchase items each person needs as well as at least one of their “wants.”

The group is helping approximately 230 children this year. They have already donated to people in Paulding and Putnam counties as well as in the city of Delphos. In addition, they have purchased coats for children in the Head Start program in Lima.

A number of people showed up to help with Saturday’s Toy Buy.

“We have representatives from the Christian Motorcycle Club, we have BOOBs (Babes Out On Bikes), and a lot of our friends who know we are doing this and come out and help,” Krick said.

Lieutenant Joseph Cantrell from the Salvation Army praised the club’s efforts.

“They are helping us help others. We are very grateful for all of our partners here in town," he said. "I just got here in the summer and I have to say, coming from Newark, New Jersey, here to Van Wert, Ohio, it’s overwhelming how much the people in this town are willing to help. And it’s because of good volunteers and people like the MC here and other people in town like Lee Kinstle who make what we do possible.”