In 1994 the fledgling Rock & Roll Motorcycle Club slowly began puttering along the Hilo roads, sponsoring and collecting toys for six child advocacy agencies. Since then the organization has taken off, having given away more than 28,000 gifts and donations to 20-plus agencies.
“In 2007 alone we sponsored over 3,000 toys to various groups,” says Oahu Chapter president Michael Panzo. “Our primary objective is to improve the lives of children so that they grow up emotionally happy and healthy, and become productive members in our community.”
The group meets every Sunday morning at 9 in the Pearlridge Center Downtown parking lot (by Sears and Zippy’s) for breakfast and a cruise around the island. Their formal meetings are held every second Sunday of the month. And you don’t need to own a hog to join the club. “For us it doesn’t matter,” Panzo, an operations supervisor for Pacific Elevator, insists. “Just be a child at heart and willing to help.”
Club members also participate in the annual Marine Corps Toys for Tots drive and the recent beautification of the Baby Cyrus Memorial Site. However, the Rock & Roll Motorcycle Club takes additional measures to ensure no child is left off Santa’s list. It has created its own grass-roots toy drive called Toys for Keikis, and for the past four years members have thrown Christmas parties and donated to agencies such as the Waianae Civic Center, the YWCA Healthy Start Program, Turning Point for Families, East Hawaii Coalition for the Homeless, Child and Family Service, Friends of Children’s Justice Center, and Christmas Wish List.
“Sometimes we think fundraising is a thankless job until we get to see the faces of the kids who are helped,” says the Maryknoll grad. “You can see the hope light up in their eyes. That’s where your heartstrings tug at you and you find yourself fighting for them, year after year.”
Drop boxes for Toys for Keikis can be found at Kaneohe Physical Therapy, Ewa Beach Physical Therapy, Wahiawa Physical Therapy, USA Baby in Waipahu and Nimitz, Baby Emporium, Andy’s Bike Shop, Island Air, Bucks Pool and Spa, Island Pool and Spa Supplies, Progressive Auto Sounds, Coordinated Wire Rope, Hideaway Bar, Top Hat Bar and Grill, Marcus and Associates Reality, Kapalama Pet Hospital, Windward Therapeutic Massage Center, and ABC Bartenders School. All toys will be given to children at the Waianae homeless shelter, Shriners Hospital, Kapiolani Medical Center and Single Parents of Kauai.
Call Panzo at 457-6955 with any questions regarding enrollment, donations or sponsorship opportunities.
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