More than 100 motorcyclists will ride 70 miles for God and children, and there's always room on the road for more.
Honor Guard, a Lake Wylie-based motorcycle ministry that began in 2001 through Lake Wylie Christian Assembly, hosts its third annual Children's Attention Home Honor Ride at 10 a.m. Saturday. The ride begins and ends at the church, 5766 Charlotte Hwy., traveling through North and South Carolina.
"Anybody can ride," group treasurer Tim Jones of Lake Wylie said. "It's not strictly for motorcycles. We're taking donations, and all the money goes to the children's home."
The ride comes at a perfect time, said Janet Knight, volunteer coordinator for Children's Attention Home in Rock Hill, and not just because April is Child Abuse Awareness Month and Volunteer Appreciation Month.
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"These events are what is sustaining us right now," she said. "We need donations very, very, very badly."
The 40-year-old group that has been helping abandoned or homeless children since 1969, recently saw State Department of Social Services funding cut because of the economic crisis, Knight said. The budget is down $486,000 putting snack foods and recreation time at risk, and donations also are down.
"We've had to cut things just to hold on," Knight said.
Libby Sweatt-Lambert, executive director of the home, said Saturday's event is a little different from the usual golf tournament or outing, but fits perfectly for Honor Guard.
"Not only do they have this ride every year, they also donate their time throughout the year," she said. "This isn't just a one-day commitment for them. It's a year-round commitment.
Honor Guard began with a handful of riders, but several years in, the group realized it could be more than a collection of motorists.
"We started feeling like there was going to be more to it than just a bunch of guys riding together," said ride coordinator Dave Horne of Clover.
Now, the group sees about 30 regulars, with individual rides bringing four or more times that many.
"We all liked riding, so we decided this was a way to come together, have fun and help," Jones said.
Saturday's ride also has about 30 corporate sponsors.
"These children here right now don't have a clue we're in a sluggish economy because of the volunteers," Knight said.
Want to ride or help?
The third annual Children's Attention Home Honor Ride begins at 10 a.m. Saturday at Lake Wylie Christian Assembly, 5766 Charlotte Hwy.
The escorted ride costs $25 for singles or $35 for double riders, which includes door prizes, lunch and a shirt at the end of the ride, along with a performance by Christian rock band 39 Lashes. Online or day of registration will be accepted. Call 803-487-8211 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about Honor Guard, visit honorguardmm.org. For more information about the Children's Attention Home, visit attentionhome.org. For more information about the ban, visit 39lashes.com.