Motorcycle benefit ride will raise money for Toys for Tots

Are you aware of an event or project that benefits our community? Contact Shelley Mann at 770-963-9205 ext. 1305 or shelley.mann@gwinnettdailypost.com.

More than 3,000 motorcyclists will ride from Lawrenceville to Athens next weekend to raise money for the U.S. Marine Corps' Toys for Tots program.

Participants in the third annual Wild Santa benefit ride have set a goal to raise $10,000 and collect 6,000 toys for Toys for Tots. Riders will leave at 10:15 a.m. Oct. 8 from StingRays Grille in Lawrenceville. The riders will travel to Athens on a 96-mile, police escorted ride to raise money for Toys for Tots.

When the cyclists return to Lawrenceville at about 3 p.m., they'll celebrate with live music, a motorcycle trophy contest, food and clothing vendors, a barbecue cook-off and photo opportunities with Santa Claus and the U.S. Marines. The community is invited to this gathering, said event founder Terry Cates.

Toys for Tots is a nonprofit program operated by the U.S. Marine Corps. Its mission is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December and distribute them Christmas gifts to needy children in the community.

Interested motorcyclists can sign up for the no-fee ride at www.wildsanta.org. StingRays is located at 911 Duluth Highway in Lawrenceville. For more information, visit www.wildsanta.org.

Chef's Auction benefit set for Sunday

The Northeast Georgia division of the March of Dimes will host its Signature Chef's Auction at 6 p.m. Sunday at the Gwinnett Center in Duluth.

At the annual fundraising auction, patrons can bid on the services of local chefs, who pledge to cook up meals in their restaurants or at private homes. Proceeds benefit the March of Dimes' mission to prevent premature births, birth defects and infant mortality.

This year's participating restaurants include The 181 Club, Armaan, California Dreaming, Grapes and Hops, Johnny Carino's, Kurt's, Little Gardens, Marriott at Peachtree Corners, Pampas Steakhouse, Payne-Corley House, PittyPat's Porch, Proof of the Pudding and Summit Chase. The Gwinnett Center is located at 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth.

To register, visit www.marchofdimes.com/georgia or call 770-977-3114.

Volunteers needed for Hands On Atlanta Day

Hands On Atlanta has a goal to draw 17,000 volunteers to participate in this year's Hands On Atlanta Day, scheduled for Saturday, which would make it the nation's largest community-based day of service.

At press time, the nonprofit group still needed more than 4,000 volunteers to take on more than 100 service projects. In Gwinnett, service projects are available at: B.B. Harris Elementary, Greater Works Childcare & Community Development Center, Gwinnett Technical College, Hi-Hope Service Center and Sheltering Arms.

Hands On Atlanta is a nonprofit group that helps match potential volunteers to available service projects. To sign up or donate money, visit www.handsonatlanta.org. For more information, call 404-972-2808.

United Way launches fundraising campaign

The United Way in Gwinnett launched its 2006-2007 annual fundraising campaign with a 7 a.m. breakfast Sept. 7 at the Gwinnett Marriott. The group's goal is to raise $4.56 million this year, said incoming campaign chairman Michael Guynn.

Quik Trip, Gwinnett County Public Schools and Scientific Atlanta have always been major contributors to the United Way's campaign, but this year, the group will target donations from new and small businesses.

United Way is a national organization that brings people together from government, business, organized labor, faith groups and nonprofits to tackle community problems.

For more information about how small businesses can help the United Way reach its fundraising goals, call Guynn at 770-945-4421.

Kick-A-Thon raises more than $3K

Participants in a recent Kick-A-Thon fundraiser at Korean Tigers Tae Kwon Do in Duluth raised $3,200 for the Gwinnett Children's Shelter.

About 40 martial arts students, mostly children, kicked nonstop for 10 minutes. Korean Tigers Master Woo Hyun Cho said he plans to make the kick-a-thon an annual event. Call 678-584-0737 for more information.

Nonprofits invited to participate in fundraising event

Mall of Georgia in Buford invites local nonprofits to participate in the Simon Evening of Giving on Nov. 19. The annual fundraising event allows local shoppers to jump-start their holiday shopping while supporting local, regional and national nonprofit groups.

On the evening of the event, Mall of Georgia will be open exclusively to shoppers who have purchased Simon Evening of Giving tickets (at $10 apiece) from participating charities. The event will feature store discounts throughout the mall, entertainment, food samples and more.

Participating local organizations can sell tickets to the event - $7 from each ticket will go directly to the organization, and the remaining $3 will benefit the Simon Youth Foundation, a nonprofit group that fosters educational and career development for at-risk youth.

Last year's Simon Evening of Giving raised more than $1.8 million. For more information, call John Liu at 770-271-9458.