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A bike run was part of the Golden Drives event to help homeless children. David Samson / Forum News Service

Golden Drive all about the kids

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News Fargo,North Dakota 58102 http://www.westfargopioneer.com/sites/default/files/styles/square_300/public/fieldimages/40/0806/wfgoldendrives4colclr.jpg?itok=01Dw-g_E
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Golden Drive all about the kids
Fargo North Dakota 101 5th Street North 58102

The Golden Drive's Community Event and Bike Run -- a benefit for Churches United and the kids who call it "home" -- was held Sunday at Sandy's Donuts and Westgo Square parking lots in West Fargo.

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Several motorcyclists participated in an hour-long ride, organized by the Gold Wing group, and approximately 100 children, both community members and homeless kids who reside at Churches United, enjoyed an afternoon of fun activities in the fresh outdoors with ample sunshine. The action focused on games, classic cars, police and fire vehicles, DJ's and dancing, face painting, cheer teams, plenty of food, and even the opportunity to visit with a special super-hero friend Batman.

Event organizer Susan Baron described the day as an "unbelievable" success thanks to the devotion of all the volunteers who helped with the planning, pitching in to insure than everything ran as smoothly as possible.

She said the mood was especially elevated thanks to the zeal of the Fargo North cheer team. "You couldn't believe the spirit, it was just unreal."

There was also a bake sale and silent auction, and a meal served after the run.

Those attending brought along donations, i.e. non-perishable food items, diapers and wipes, school supplies, towels, monetary gifts, you name it, with the end result a trailer truly stacked high.

Baron said people who drove by and saw what was going on left and then came back with sacks full of new products ranging from food to clothing. One couple in particular told her that they have a good life and because of that went to the store and purchased a variety of kids supplies. "Its just unbelievable what they bought. They wanted to help those in need."

Baron said thanks to the enthusiasm and response she is definitely looking forward to future repeats of the event.

She noted the day was all about the Golden Drive Homeless Kids. "The number one key was promoting awareness of the situation in the community with all the products and donations going to Churches United for the Homeless and the kids who live there."

"A lot of people who stopped by didn't realize there were homeless children," Baron stated, adding there are close to 200 in the community with domestic violence playing a huge role.

Baron became involved with the homeless kids cause three years ago, starting it all with a color crayon and her intention to take coloring books to the homeless kids.

About a year ago, she quit her job of 14 years to take the commitment a giant step further. "Because I am a "Golden Girl" fan, I quit my job of 14 years to put more of my life into this." She also works for Cass County Social Service in-home care.

"I want to do as much as I can to raise as much awareness as possible with the focus always being on the homeless kids," Baron emphasized. "I have helped create so many relationships and volunteers and it has grown to where people know more about homelessness than ever before responding with talent, time and donations for these precious children who are our future."

Baron and her husband, Steve, make their home in West Fargo, where Steve is a member of the volunteer fire department and is employed at Spitfire.

In 2012, Churches United served 793 people and the average length of stay was 44 days which Baron said is increasing because the housing is getting so much tighter. Nights of sheltering for guests totaled 34,638 for the year.

Baron said the outpouring of support for the Sunday event fills her with emotion and pride when she realizes how many will benefit because of the gesture.

On that note, her next act will be heading to one of the big brand stores with the benefit proceeds and shopping for as many supplies as possible to take to Churches United along with whatever money is left over for additional needs. "True happiness comes through helping other people while we are here," Baron stated. ""I am so thankful and happy for the kids. I can't stress enough the importance of everyone who pitched in. It was all just so amazing."

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