Secretary Karen Riley said this is the second year they have held the event and explained how it first began. “I heard that a high school friend was homeless and on the streets of Ardmore,” Riley said. “So last year I thought, I’m going to go find him.“
Ron Renzelman and Karen Riley giving meals to the homeless (Drew Butler/The Ardmoreite)
Riley enlisted the help of the club, and last December they loaded up a wagon with homemade soup and hit the streets of downtown. Not only did she find her friend, but they also served 43 others in the process. This year, however, they decided to do things a bit differently by staying in one location. “We thought it would be easier for everyone if we just set up in one spot,” Riley said. “We feel like we missed some people last year, and don’t want that to happen again.
While helping the homeless is something new for the American Iron Riders, the club has a long history of charity. “At first, our main goal was to help the veterans,” Riley said. “So we have two cookouts a year for the veterans at the Veterans Center and we play bingo with them once a month.“ They also help area school children twice a year. In August they take children in need back to school shopping, and just last week they went Christmas shopping with some students from Take Two Academy. “We had 26 kids,” Riley said. “They each got $100 a piece, and we all just had a wonderful time.“
Riley found the generosity of one particular student to be truly inspirational. “We had one child from Take Two who purchased all of his Christmas and then turned around and donated it back to Toys for Tots,” Riley said. She thinks this student’s act of kindness is very much in line with American Iron Rider’s mission. “The reason we do all of the things we do is because we’re all so blessed and we just want to pass our blessings on,” Riley said.
SOURCE: The Daily Ardmoreite