ROCKINGHAM — As winter approaches, colder temperatures can be uncomfortable and hazardous to those with inadequate or no shelter.
One group of Richmond County bikers did its part to help this weekend.
Members of Ol Skool Tribe Riding Club — and “other volunteers who just showed up helpin’ us” — spent part of their afternoon Sunday providing clothes and food for the homeless and needy.
Marty Bundy, who was at the grill cooking hot dogs, brought the clothing giveaway idea to the club.
“When we have a cookout at the club house, I take the leftovers and I bring them to the homeless,” he said. “They appreciated, trust me, they really do.”
But one day when he was sitting at the gas station, he thought it would be good to do a little more.
“I was watching them one day and said, ‘I’m going to do this for them for Christmas — give out some coats, some clothes, some blankets, some food,” he said. “I try to help them out as much as I can.”
The club set up in the empty area between the Shell gas station and La Cabana with a trailer loaded with boxes of clothes for the less fortunate to pick through and take with them.
The clothes were donated by individuals, local churches — including Grace Fellowship Church and Outreach for Jesus — Roger Messer of the Southern Roadhouse and Perdue Farms donated 5o new coats, according to club member Donnie Butler.
Within the first half hour, about a dozen homeless men and women had shown up.
“It’s not just for the homeless, but also for the needy,” Butler said.
Club president Eddie Dean had to clarify that with a few people who stopped by and tried to take a few free items.
As they made their way through the food line for a hot dog, chips and bottle of water, the homeless offered their gratitude and spoke with club members.
Butler said the club was giving back “because we all could be like that one day.”
That’s exactly what recently happened to James Locklear, who had been living the homeless life less than a week.
Locklear said he had been out of town, but came back to be with brother. But when he returned, he found out his brother was incarcerated. Since his name wasn’t on his brother’s lease agreement, Locklear had to turn to the streets.
He described his first time being homeless as “scary,” “overwhelming” and something he wouldn’t wish anyone would have to go through.
“I’ve met a lot of cool people that’s homeless, but I don’t know their circumstances,” he said, including a couple with a child. “I’ve seen some sad, sad stories out here. This is only the third or fourth day I’ve been homeless, but I’ve seen a lot.
“There’s a lot of people who will help you, but there’s a lot of people who will look down on you, too, like you’re nobody” he added. “But when people come together like this … it gives you hope.”
He said he’s hoping to land a job with a plumbing company this week and start saving up money to get a place to stay “and then it’ll be better days.”
“But any day above ground is a good day,” he added.
Bundy said this was the first time the club has organized such a drive, but added he hopes to make it an annual event.
Reach William R. Toler at 910-817-2675 or [email protected]