SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A new Springfield-based non-profit is using funds raised from an annual easter-egg hunt to buy 21 local kids Christmas gifts this year.
Greater Ozarks Charity was founded by bikers against dumb drivers.
A local group you’ve likely only seen riding the streets of Springfield…*nat pop*…Has taken their love for the community…And turned it into a non-profit…Aimed at filling a need during the holidays.
“We just wanted to give back and pay it forward to our community. And what better way of giving a child a Christmas spirit that normally would not have that,” says Rick Hart, Bikers Against Dumb Drivers’ president.
Rick and Mandy Hart say this is the fifth year of their annual toy drive.
“And in February of 2021 of this year, 2021. We were actually granted the 501c3 status,” says Mandy Hart, Greater Ozarks Charity president.
Those with bikers against dumb drivers, And now Greater Ozarks Charity says the effort begins each spring.
“Our main event is the easter keg hunt. That’s where we generate most of our revenue. We get a lot of donations,” Mary Kane, secretary & treasurer of Greater Ozarks Charity says.
“We have riddles, people don’t know how many stops it is, they have to come to the stop and figure out the riddle for the next stop. We have little prize eggs that people can pick up and bring the ticket back and get prizes,” says Rick.
“That is what funds what we’re doing today. We’re purchasing gifts for 7 families and 21 children total,” says Kane.
It’s made possible with the help of Springfield public schools.
“We found out there’s a lot of schools that have underprivileged children. They have free lunch programs and stuff like that, and that’s how we find out the information,” says Rick.
“Those children, we fulfill them, got their needs. Clothes, shoes, coats and so forth, as well as some gifts. We get to deliver them today, so this is the fun part,” says Mandy.
It takes a full day of hunting around easter followed by a full day of shopping come December so that by Christmas, homes are filled with smiles and under the tree is filled too.
“We started this just kind of as a way to give back to the community. Kids are pretty important to us. We sure don’t want them left out during Christmas time and that’s how this whole thing started,” says Kane.
“It’s absolutely emotional, it’s absolutely heartwarming. It’s a feeling you don’t forget. We all walk away in tears seeing the joy on the kids’ faces and the community as well,” says Mandy.
“It’s the community itself. We’re just more or less the messengers for the community, so the community itself is who’s making this possible. We can’t thank them enough for that,” says Rick.