WAXAHACHIE

The holiday and giving spirit came to the Matthew 7:7 Riders Motorcycle Ministry a little early this year.

With their second annual “Christmas for Kids” fundraiser planned for Saturday afternoon at VFW Post 3894, the ministry is fundraising money to adopt underprivileged families and children in Ellis County and help them have a fulfilling Christmas.

President Mark “Preacher” Rose said the ministry adopted seven families and 18 kids last year and they will be taking recommendations for this year’s adoptions in October.

“They need a tree? We get them a tree,” Preacher said. “They need lights? We get them lights. Whatever they don’t have, we take care of all of it, plus gifts.”

Dedicated to his late nephew-in-law, Matthew Higgins, Preacher started the ministry in 2015 after Matthew passed away in a motorcycle accident. Commenting on how Matthew was a giving, loving person, Preacher said the ministry was made to honor and emulate Matthew’s generosity.

“When he was a kid, his mother would buy him a new toy,” Preacher recalled. “Next thing you know, it was gone. She’d say ‘Where is it?’ ‘Well, I gave it away.’ ‘Why’d you do that?’ He said ‘Because they have less than we do.’”

Preacher said the name Matthew 7:7 is in reference to Matthew’s day of passing on July 7th — the seventh day of the seventh month.

Preacher said it’s also inferential to the bible verse: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

“I guess it was kind of meant to be,” Preacher remarked.

Preacher said the ministry holds the fundraiser in September due to the fall being a busy bike riding season for riders.

“There’s so many going on in October, November, December that we have to beat that,” Preacher said.

Preacher said they also hold the fundraiser in September because that was Matthew’s birthday month. According to his obituary, his birthday falls on Monday, Sept. 23.

With their Saturday fundraiser complete with food, music, a poker run and an auction of a guitar signed by Grammy Award-winning country artist Randy Travis, Preacher said they would take their donations and use it for their holiday activism.

While the holiday season is focused on the kids, Preacher said their ministry pays just as much attention to the adults as well. Preacher recalled one grieving mother they adopted last year who was going through a family tragedy.

“Her husband passed away from cancer before Christmas,” he said. “We adopted them and took care of them.”

Preacher said their ministry wouldn’t just help with the Holidays; they would help with any personal issues their families were going through, whether it was a broken down car or an empty pantry. Whatever it was, Preacher said their motorcycle ministry would try to help.

“As a parent, whatever I had to do to get my kids a Christmas, I would go do it,” he said. “I would go without food. We try to relieve that burden from them.”

But Preacher’s favorite part of the group’s holiday ministry is dressing up as Santa Claus and driving on their motorcycles to deliver the presents to the kids directly.

“They love the motorcycles,” Preacher recalled. “When we rode up, they already heard us coming a block or two away. They go out, and we take pictures with them on our motorcycles.”

“That’s the blessing we get out of it: getting to see their faces when we give them their gifts,” he said.

The Matthew 7:7 Riders Motorcycle Ministry Christmas for Kids fundraiser is at noon Saturday at 1405 North Interstate Highway 35. To donate to the ministry, call 972-748-4076 or email onlymark2u@yahoo.com.

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David Dunn, @DavidDunnInTX

469-517-1456