Laurie Montoya, President and Founder, BikerDown Foundation
The holiday season is a time of giving and spreading joy, it is also a time when many families, single parents begin to stress and fear the holidays. Families are struggling, and the internet and social media flood children’s feeds with what their algarithms telling them what they should want for Christmas.
In the motorcycle community, injured motorcycle riders are recovering in hospitals and at home without their regular income, making Christmas for the kids impossible.
BikerDown Foundation founded the Adopt A Family For the Holidays 12 years ago on a vision of helping 2 families who had lost their husband/dad in a tragic motorcycle accident. BikerDown Colorado did what biker’s do, put out the needs to the biker community and pray the bikers will help. THEY DID. Our community made sure that those families had what they needed to have the best Christmas they could have given their circumstances.
In the years following, BikerDown Foundation has helped over 500 families in the states of Colorado and Nevada, ensuring each family received a $200-250 Walmart gift card, Food to cook their own meal at home, and ensure that kids on lunch programs had nutritious meals while on break, and an opportunity to bring their children to meet Santa Claus and have a wonderful Lunch with Santa.
The Nevada Adopt a Family for the Holidays program set an aggressive goal to hit 25 families in 2023. Adopt A Family, and their Las Vegas community partners (Help of Southern Nevada, Full Throttle Law, and the So. Nevada COC), as well as local businesses and motorcycle clubs volunteered, and donated gift cards, funds, toys and bikes to 28 families in the Las Vegas area.
On December 17th, Nevada Adopt a Family hosted their Lunch with Santa at the Bliss Banquet Hall. The Hall was transformed into a winter wonderland for the kids with inflatable Christmas decorations, more toys than they could possibly imagine and a total of 45 bikes were there for the families to have for the kids. The kids received a surprise visit from Elf, The Grinch, and of course, Santa Claus!
The Lunch with Santa gives the donors who adopted a family the opportunity to sit with each family and see their donations at work. Many donors and businesses have experienced hard times and struggled. They can take this opportunity to share their journey with them and give them hope that things will get better. The most important is to let these families feel rewarded for the hard work they do all year to provide for their children. Yes, this is a charitable gift, but these families work hard, have disabilities, and somehow find a way to get through each month.
This program is a community effort, but couldn’t have grown in Nevada to this level without our steering committee. I would be remise if I didn’t mention the following individuals who went above and beyond to ensure everything was perfect and no stone was left unturned.
- Shannon “Dazzlin” Venturo – President Bling Devas, MC and Marketing Director, Full Throttle Law – This couldn’t have been done without my friend and sister. She is the YING to my YANG and worked tirelessly to ensure we didn’t miss anything. Shannon is the epitome of what a true biker sister is. Thank you for working by my side, pushing me to elevate this program, and inspiring me and everyone around you that failure is not an option.
- Nichole “Smiley” Zamora – Nichole is genuinely a biker angel and the 2nd backbone of this program. She is the Operating Coordinator of Help Southern Nevada. She pushed Adopt a Family to get their application into the 98.5 Las Vegas Toy Drive and volunteer. All the toys, food, and bikes were 100% donated from her charity and this toy drive. Without you and your charity, we couldn’t have grown this quickly. From beginning to end, you inspired us to grow and help more and more people..
- Jose “Pepe” Miranda – My friend Pepe and his family are so charitable. Pepe, who works at US Foods in Las Vegas, travels daily to restaurants and banquet halls like Bliss Banquet Hall. He knew that we had outgrown our previous venue, and he worked and negotiated with BBH to donate the hall and allow AAF to bring in our food, receiving no profit for themselves.
- Bling Devas MC – Motorcycle clubs are widely misunderstood and profiled. Most certainly, women’s motorcycle clubs do not receive the recognition they deserve. The Bling Devas MC has been a charitable force in the Las Vegas motorcycle community, and one of the driving forces in growing the Nevada Adopt A Family for the Holidays program. They assist Dazzlin in her vision and execute it flawlessly with a team of women riders who want to make a difference. I love every one of you ladies for caring about this program and ensuring it was executed perfectly.
BikerDown Foundation and our Adopt A Family cannot begin to thank everyone who participated in this event. If you would like to see more photos and the families that we adopted, please visit Adopt A Family Today’s website. Please consider joining our steering committee and becoming involved in your state or community. You can contact Executive Director, Laurie Montoya by clicking here or calling us a 720-328-9795.