On Saturday, Sept. 19, the Independent Bikers Association (IBA) West Central Chapter, based in Greenfield, will host its sixth annual Burning Assphalt run, according to chapter president Jeff Campbell. The event also serves as the largest fundraiser for Highland County Community Action’s (HCCAO) senior nutrition program, HCCAO Director Julia Wise told The Times-Gazette.
In a previous interview, Campbell explained that a former member of the Greenfield IBA, whom Campbell called a horrible speller, named the event.
“He passed away four years ago,” Campbell said. “We kept it that way in memory of him.”
When Campbell and fellow members of the Greenfield chapter began looking for an organization to support during their annual run around seven years ago, they knew they wanted to support a local organization, Campbell said.
“There are so many organizations you can do that are global, but we were trying to get the biggest bang for our buck in our own community,” Campbell said. “The seniors need help because the government keeps cutting their funding. We know what we give is a small amount for what they need, but the way we look at it, every dollar we raise helps somebody. And we know that money helps people in our own community. One of these days, it’s going to be our family and friends who need help from [the senior nutrition] program — it could even be some of us someday. While we’re able and willing, we want to do stuff in our community for someone who really needs it.”
Campbell added that even though shows like “Sons of Anarchy” have given bikers a bad reputation, the bikers frequently give back to their local communities as well as charities.
“There are a lot of people who don’t think of bikers that way, but the whole biking community — not just my club — spends lots of money every year doing benefits and going on rides for a good cause to help people out,” Campbell said. “Yes, we like to have a good time when we’re out, but we care about the people in our community. We all live here, and we all see the struggles of people in the community.”
Wise said community events like Burning Assphalt that raise money for the senior nutrition program and HCCAO’s other programs make her and other HCCAO employees “feel like other people understand what we’re trying to do.”
HCCAO’s senior nutrition program provides hot meals five days a week for home-bound Highland County residents 60 and over, the majority of whom don’t have other sources of food.
Because HCCAO is a local non-profit organization, it does not receive regular federal funding for its programs. Instead, the organization applies for competitive grants and other funding resources, which Wise said can be inconsistent from year to year.
However, in 2019, the program served 28,462 home-delivered meals to Highland County seniors, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Wise said HCCAO was able to secure additional state and federal funding to provide home-delivered meals for seniors.
As of Thursday, Wise said the program now serves 3,200 meals to local seniors each month — around double the number of monthly meals it served last year.
“We’ve continued to deliver, and our intention is to continue to do that because we know a lot of our seniors are obviously frightened — as well they should be,” Wise said. “We’re continuing to serve as many as we can, and as time goes on, hopefully we’ll be able to keep them on, even if our extra funds run out.”
Though those who deliver the seniors’ meals have been taking additional precautions to decrease contact, Wise said the program also offers the county’s seniors a health check and a small amount of socialization.
“Many of the [seniors in the program] have no one else who wants to see them or have someone who only comes in on the weekends to see them,” Wise said. “It gives them at least someone who’s coming in to check on them with a smile on their face and someone to say hi to each and every day.”
Registration for this year’s Burning Assphalt event will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 19 at the Greenfield Eagles, located at 1275 N. Washington St. Registration is $15 for single riders and $20 for couples.
All motorcycles and cars are welcome to participate.
Riders will leave around 12 p.m. and will travel from Greenfield to Waynesville, Oregonia, Blanchester and Rainsboro before returning to Greenfield.
Campbell encouraged riders to bring masks as some of the establishments may require them.
After the riders return to the Greenfield Eagles, there will be an afterparty.
Those who may not ride motorcycles but who would like to attend the afterparty are welcome, Campbell said. Admission to the afterparty for non-riders is $5 per person.
The afterparty features music by local band Salem’s Lot.
The event will also include a 50/50 drawing and silent auction.
For more information about the Highland County Community Action Organization, Inc. Senior Nutrition Program, call site manager Amy Faulconer at 937-981-2895. To donate, go to hccao.org/about/donate.
Reach McKenzie Caldwell at 937-402-2570.