PHOTOS BY ALEX McCARTHY | JUNEAU EMPIRE Justin Papenbrock, a sergeant-at-arms for the Southeast Alaska Panhandlers Motorcycle Club, places a stuffed animal on a pile of donated toys on Thursday. The club brought 10 large trash bags of stuffed animals, raised at the 23rd annual Toy Run, to Bartlett Regional Hospital.

Panhandlers make annual toy donation

Wearing two large, silver rings in the shape of skulls, Justin Papenbrock held a plush beaver and jokingly rocked it like a baby.

Papenbrock, a Sergeant-at-Arms for the Southeast Alaska Panhandlers Motorcycle Club, laughed and then placed it carefully on top of the large pile of stuffed animals. It was one of dozens of toys gathered during the 23rd annual Panhandlers Motorcycle Club Toy Run, which took place this past Saturday.

The event, where members of the club ride through town and collect toy donations during a cookout at the Douglas Fire Station, included around 80 riders this year. When members of the club came to Bartlett Regional Hospital on Thursday morning, they came with 10 large trash bags of toys, which they loaded into a crate.

The hospital will keep the stuffed animals on hand for upset young patients in the emergency department or in the diagnostic imaging (X-ray) department. Numerous hospital employees stood in the parking lot Thursday morning and thanked the club members for the donation.

Steven “Razz” Rasmussen, a retired member of the club, was on hand for the donation and told a story of someone who got a stuffed animal when she was a child at the hospital and still cherishes it years later.

The event sprouted from a desire to collect toys for local children after seeing Toys for Tots do it on a national level. It has grown from there, adding more riders and bringing more toys to the hospital over the years. Panhandlers MC President Craig Fowler said this year’s turnout was fairly typical, as they gathered 12 bags of toys last year.

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