An annual motorcycle ride to support homeless veterans will be a bit different this year due to COVID-19.
The 7th annual Jesse Hinton Memorial Homeless Veterans poker run is set for Saturday, Sept. 12, and it will be a drive-through drop-off fundraiser instead of its usual motorcycle ride.
Organizers expect "this year will be a success, as have the previous years," said Tiffany Deal, event spokesperson, who is Hinton's granddaughter,
"We have had to make some adjustments to the plan due to COVID-19, but we will still be pressing forward with the event," she said.
The fundraiser is held each year "in memory of Jesse J.L. Hinton and in honor of something that held a big place in his heart," Deal said.
Before his death in 2014, Hinton headed collection drives at the old Steak-n-Shake location to help homeless veterans, she said.
"Grandpa was an amazing, stubborn and loving person. I just wish he could be here to see how big this has gotten, all because of him."
While Hinton was not a member, he worked closely with the U.S. Military Veterans group, she said.
In order to avoid large crowds and prevent spread of the coronavirus, the usual motorcycle ride will this year be a "drive-in drop-off" for donations. The site is at 500 Commerce Boulevard, at the lot behind Citizens Bank and beside Franklin Toyota, she said. Donations may be dropped off between 8 a.m. and noon.
"We will unload your donations so you will not have to have contact with anyone," Deal said.
Items needed for homeless veterans, "many of whom live in the woods," include camping gear (tents, flashlights, batteries, tarps); non-perishable foods and drinks (canned goods, cereal, pasta, juice, Gatorade, bottled water); personal hygiene items; gift cards (restaurants, Wal-Mart, Dollar General); and cash donations, she said.
No clothing items may be accepted, and donors are asked to check expiration dates on foods, she said. All proceeds will benefit homeless veterans.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.