Cyclists in Memphis do a good deed for shelter residents

Nov 26, 2019 | by Brad Rowland

Cyclists in Memphis do a good deed for shelter residents

By: David Ibata

Members of the Sugar Town Riders Motorcycle Club and Queens of Sugar Town Social Club in Memphis, Tennessee, have always had a heart for the less fortunate. This fall, they decided to do something special for residents of a Salvation Army women's shelter.

They made a delivery run Oct. 17 to the Purdue Center of Hope and dropped off three bales full of boxes and bags containing hundreds of gifts, from baby clothes to hygiene and hair products and hats, gloves and shoes. The gift was for the clients of Renewal Place, a two-year residential recovery program where chemically addicted women can live with their children.

"They made hygiene kits for each of the 46 women in the building," said April Armstrong, clinical program director for the Purdue Corps. "They brought so many things for the children, we set it up so people could come in and shop, as in a store – there was so much stuff."

Then, the members stayed and visited with clients, listening to their stories. "They definitely want to return for the children's Christmas program," Armstrong said.

The Sugar Town Riders, based in Stuttgart, Arkansas, was founded in 2007 by Luke "Cool Hand" Green and today has 10 chapters in Arkansas, one in Tennessee and two in Mississippi, according to Connie Spivey, the organization's business manager.

"We have a lot of involvement in the community with single-parent families as well as youth development," Spivey said. "Our main focus is giving back to families with school-age children, with hygiene kits, clothes, things of that nature."

The riders often work with homeless shelters. This year, under the leadership of President Kal Wayne and Vice President Lil' Bitty, the group decided to focus on The Salvation Army.

"We know there's a need in the community – women and children trying to stay together," said Andrea Leggett, a Sugar Town member. "We talked to the men and women in our club, and we decided to go ahead and get some clothes for the kids, socks, hair products."

The Riders and Queens raised funds to buy toiletries and other goods; they also donated more than 10 bags of gently worn clothes and shoes. Now, Spivey said, they're looking forward to continuing with The Salvation Army, visiting nursing homes and ringing bells for the Red Kettle Campaign.

Armstrong said, "The work they've done thus far has been a great contribution not only to the children but for the women. It empowers our ladies to know women stand tall and strong in a motorcycle club. To see women come in on their own bikes, as club leaders, was a great influence for the women here."

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