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Contributed photo by Gary Sisk / Organizers set up the annual Catoosa County Stocking Full of Love event where parents and guardians can "shop" for gifts and toys.

Over the past three decades, the Catoosa County Sheriff's Office has brought together countless motorcyclists from across the county to share in the holiday spirit.

Last year, over 500 bikers attended the annual Toy Run, and organizer Sheriff Gary Sisk is expecting more this time around.

On Sunday, Dec. 1, motorcyclists are invited to meet at the Big Lots in Fort Oglethorpe at 2 p.m. with new, unwrapped gifts in tow. They'll ride down Battlefield Parkway to Ringgold High School to deposit the presents at what will become the holiday headquarters of the Catoosa County Stocking Full of Love, which lets qualifying parents or guardians "shop" for their children before Christmas.

It may seem like a short distance to ride, said Sisk, but the smiles it provides add to the mileage. Due to the number of people who usually join in, it's safer to keep the distance short, at about 10 miles, he explained.

Last year, the project made sure over 1,400 county children had gifts under their tree. Sisk said it seems like very young children and teenagers are the demographics most in need.

Between Nov. 25 and Dec. 6, Stocking Full of Love will accept nominations of county children ages 1-14. Anyone needing assistance this holiday season can call 706-965-7138 or 706-965-7139 to set up an appointment or to nominate a child in need.

The Toy Run also accepts monetary donations from riders and the community. Sisk said that the day before the Stocking Full of Love store opens, he and other board members clear off the shelves in Walmart for last-minute toy needs.

Community members can donate toys at the Catoosa County Sheriff's Office or contact the department to schedule a time for a representative to come pick up gifts. Checks can be made payable to Catoosa County Stocking Full of Love and mailed to the Catoosa County Sheriff's Office at P.O. Box 909 Ringgold, Ga., 30736.

Of the past 31 Toy Runs, only a handful have been rained out, said Sisk, but if that's the case, this year's rain date is Dec. 8.

Email Sabrina Bodon at sbodon@timesfreepress.com

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