The Southside Crew Riding Club has organized a toy drive in memory of club President Blake Rhodes’ niece, Jordan Denise Huff.
“She was always a special little kid. She made everybody smile and laugh,” Rhodes said.
From Crossett, Jordan was only 9 years old when she passed away due to complications from spina bifida last year. Rhodes said Jordan was a playful girl who loved country music and never met a stranger, always wearing a smile despite the obstacles she faced as a result of the condition.
“She’s had multiple surgeries; even through her surgeries, not feeling well, she always smiled,” Rhodes said. “She always played. She might have been paralyzed from the waist down, but that didn’t stop her. Her arms were like Popeye’s.”
When the Southside Crew formed last month, Rhodes realized it was important for the club to get involved in community service. He decided a toy drive in Jordan’s memory would be a good starting point. The toy drive will benefit Arkansas Children's Hospital.
“Everyone does toy drives around Christmas. We wanted to do something in the middle of the year, that way they can have something in the middle and that way they don’t use the same toys for a year,” Rhodes said. “Basically a Christmas in June.”
The Southside Crew is currently looking for help with the toy drive. They already have one corporate sponsor, Apache Industrial Services. A representative from their corporate headquarters in Houston, Texas, will accompany Rhodes on the toy drop off next month.
Rhodes said any other interested riding clubs or motorcycle clubs are welcome to join in the Southside Crew’s efforts. Members of the Gringos MC have signed on to help and others have expressed interest, he said.
“We’re going to be the main ones, but if any other MCs and RCs want to join in and help, that’s perfectly fine,” Rhodes said.
Currently, the Southside Crew RC only has six members, with members stretching across four counties in south Arkansas, including Union County. They are looking to grow their membership.
Toys donated for the drive must be unopened in their original packaging, in order to protect the children at Arkansas Children’s Hospital from germs.
Toys may be dropped off in the following locations:
El Dorado: Apache Industrial Services at 4477 Junction City Highway; and Trotter Nissan at 1910 W. Hillsboro St.
Strong: Medlin’s Metal Roofing Manufacturing at 9726 Strong Highway.
Camden: Camden Glass & Overhead Door at 1150 W. Washington St.; and What’s Cookin’ at 113 S. Adams Ave.
Crossett: A&D Bargain Outlet in the parking lot of Atwoods at 1308 Main St.
Warren: The Mad Butcher at 315 S. Martin St.; and W&A Auto Sales and Salvage at 519 Highway 278 West
Toy donations will be picked up on June 22. The Southside Crew RC will deliver the toys to Arkansas Children’s Hospital on June 28; the club will ride to Little Rock together. Rhodes said he hopes to make the toy drive an annual event.
To learn more or to get involved with the toy drive, contact Blake Rhodes at 870-940-1194.
Caitlan Butler can be reached at 870-862-6611 or email@example.com.