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There was a cold drizzle falling outside, but the spirits inside the Wal-Mart in Wood River were not dampened a bit. In fact, the Christmas Spirit was in full affect thanks to a group of first responders and bikers who team up every year for the Patches and Badges for Kids annual shopping spree. 15 years ago, Brent Wells was given the task of making Christmas bright for underprivileged children in the Riverbend. Every year since then, he along with his brothers and a dedicated staff of volunteers have delivered on that mission.
This year, 34 children from all around the Riverbend received a Christmas they will never forget. Escorted by a team of volunteers, these children filled their shopping carts with the toys, clothes, shoes, and coats that they wanted to have. The children are nominated by social workers at each of the local schools. As each group made their way around the store, the smiles brightened up everyone’s night.
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The money this year was raised through numerous sources. The Illinois Hog Chapter held a charity ride that ended up at Music Fest III at the Alton Wood River Sportsman’s Club in August. The Red Knights MC held a charity ride as well. Brent’s brothers and other’s close to the organization give freely each year. One group stood out among the rest though, Pride Fitness in Wood River found ways to make contributions throughout the year. They donated dues for special nights, sold water with Patches and Badges labeling, and put a lot of creative effort into procuring donations for the special event.
To donate to Patches for Badges or to become involved with their mission, you can visit them at PatchesandBadgesForKids.com or follow them on their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Patches-and-Badges-for-Kids-NFP-113666362020012/?fref=ts