Elkhart bikers are filling up backpacks

Terry and Dana Reamer unload their Indian Motorcycle, packed with school supplies that they are donating to local students.

ELKHART — Local bikers were stuffing their motorcycles with notebooks, pens and rulers on Saturday. They are not going back to school, but rather making sure that students in Elkhart have the supplies they need.

Bikers for Backpacks, hosted by Elkhart Indian Motorcycle at 3016 Brittany Court, is “a scavenger hunt ride” for bikers, who get a list of needed school supplies and go track them down at local stores, said store general manager Ann Shelley.

Just inside the store entrance, bikers were dropping off supplies by a box made to look like a school bus.

“And hopefully it’ll be overflowing by the end of the day,” Shelley said Saturday morning.

The Elkhart Education Foundation will pick up the supplies in the coming week and distribute it to the schools in the area.

“We’ve seen a need in the community, for teachers who always supplement their classes with extra school supplies that kids aren’t able to bring in to the classroom,” said Shelley.

She expected between 30 and 50 riders to help out, despite weather that might call for a longer road trips than from the supply store to the dealership.

This was the third annual Bikers for Backpack, which was started by the dealership but heavily supported by Elkhart Indian Motorcycle Riders Group, according to Shelly.

IMRG president Terry Reamer said it is important to help children get the best possible start.

“We want to give them the advantage of getting a good education,” he said. “I think it’s a good tool to help them get that education, where they don’t have to worry about ‘Where am I going to get these supplies to make it happen for me.’”

He said anybody can join in on the efforts to get supplies to students whose families have a hard time affording them.

“We encourage anybody and everybody to join us,” he said. “You don’t necessarily have to be on a bike.”

In fact, driving a vehicle with four wheels might make it easier to do the supply run than having to fit it all on a bike, said Dana Reamer, IMRG secretary.

“Motorcycle riders – it’s magic,” said Terry Reamer. “We share a common love of the open road, so that’s freedom. And freedom in America is a huge thing. We celebrate that on two wheels and we share that freedom with others around us.” 

Follow Rasmus S. Jorgensen on Twitter @ReadRasmus

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