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'Christmas in July' ride to benefit local veteran charities

Eagle-Tribune - 7/21/2022

Jul. 21—PLAISTOW — The American Legion Riders of Chapter 34 in Plaistow will host a "Christmas in July" motorcycle event Sunday, July 24, to benefit local servicemen and women.

The event is open to everyone and will be held at Carl G. Davis Post 34, 176 Main St., from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Representatives from two of the charities will be in attendance to share information about what they offer.

Anyone who does not want to ride can still participate; that portion will end at noon and be followed by a social gathering.

Danielle Brown, assistant director of the Plaistow Post 34 Riders, said the idea came when members sought a new way to support local philanthropic efforts, like Ruck-Up, Inc. and Hero Pups.

"When we came down to Plaistow (after being part of a different American Legion Post), we thought it was a no-brainer to bring Ruck-Up into the Plaistow group to try to get them some funding through us," Brown said.

"Everything they do is for veterans. They do counseling — drug and alcohol counseling. They do advocacy," she added. "They go all over New England and drive hours just to get to these people and go to their groups."

Both groups are run by volunteers. Ruck-Up's mission is to help veterans in crisis, in need of advocacy, counseling or outreach. Hero Pups aids New England veterans and first responders with service-related challenges who need a support dog.

"A mother started Hero Pups because her son came back from the military and couldn't get a service dog," Brown explained. "It's grown to not just service members, but first responders. We wanted to do something for those animals. Everything we bring in for Hero Pups is actually for the dogs themselves."

The Plaistow Riders will collect lightly-used towels and blankets, dry dog food, and dog houses.

In addition, the "Christmas in July" event will collect non-perishable food for St. Luke's Holy Angels Food Pantry and items for Toys for Tots.

The Sunday ride kicks off a four-month fundraiser.

Brown said donations can be dropped off at the Plaistow American Legion at any time. The Legion often updates its website with specific lists of what is needed.

While this is the first "Christmas in July" for the Plaistow Legion Riders, those from Post 34 are no strangers to doing whatever they can to help veterans and their community.

"There are a lot of veterans who come home from being in the military or they are in their house and don't know how to get help," Brown said. "They served their country. They should have everything and anything they need when they come back home."


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