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Bikers raise money for A Friend's House

By Jason A. Smith

jsmith@henryherald.com

The second annual "Ride to Break the Cycle" generated nearly $4,000 for A Friend's House, a shelter for abused, neglected or abandoned children, over the weekend, according to Nan Jenkins, director of development for the facility.

The gathering spot for Saturday's event was Southside Steve's, a well-known watering hole in McDonough. It drew enthusiastic motorcycle riders, and passengers, who wanted to do their part to help stem child abuse.

"We're still counting the final figures, but it will come to around $3,800," said Jenkins. She said the money will go toward general operating expenses at the shelter, including transportation, clothing and activities for the kids.

A Friend's House has a capacity of 24 children, and currently houses 12, according to Jenkins.

She added that the concept for the fund-raiser was brought to leaders of A Friend's House last year, by a board member for the non-profit organization. The success of the 2009 event, she said, led them to schedule Saturday's ride.

"Bikers have a real heart for helping children, so it seemed like a worthwhile effort and a good fit," she said.

A total of 73 individuals -- 57 bikers, and 16 passengers -- took part in the charity ride, she said. Participants were escorted by the Henry County Police Department's Motors Unit, through portions of Hampton, Stockbridge and McDonough, according to Jenkins.

"It was strictly a Henry County ride," she added. Jenkins expressed her gratitude for the ride's sponsors, including Southside Steve's, CJ's Hot Dogs, and the Peach State Rockers, who performed for participants.

"We had a lot of other sponsors, who donated items for the auction, and we appreciate those as well," Jenkins said.

Kim Story, of Stockbridge, who has assisted in organizing the fund-raiser for two years, said she began to develop an interest in A Friend's House last year, when she first learned about the facility.

"You hear about the kids, and then you're able to see the facilities and the people who run the organization," Story said. "It became a need, to continue supporting it."

Although some of the bikers who supported the child-abuse prevention effort, did not know a great deal about A Friend's House, she said, they gave organizers "nothing but good feedback" as they learned about its mission.

"It makes the ride mean more and more," said Story.