Kids in need are riding into the new school year with a whole convoy behind them after Back to School Shopping With a Biker on Aug.12.
The week before school, the local branch of the American Iron Riders helped 43 kids from Mannsville, Thackerville, Greenville, Turner and Springer get ready for the new school year.
Parents met the group at Wal-Mart in Ardmore and checked their kids in. Then, the kids got to pick which biker — all of whom attended in full gear — they wanted to take them shopping. Once their school supplies were picked out, kids could spend the remaining cash on whatever else they needed, whether it was clothes, shoes or other necessities.
 Michelle “Lefty” Douglas, who organized this year’s event, has been an Iron Rider for just over a year. She said the club raises funds throughout the year with auctions, parties and raffles for this event and a similar one for Christmas in winter.
“The principals will give us a list of names of families who’ve struggled and really need that help,” Douglas said.
She said the club holds charity events throughout the year, but mostly focus on helping children and veterans.
“It’s an amazing group to be a part of,” Douglas said. “We’ve got other groups who invite us to ride with them, and they know we will. We’re all just trying to do everything we can, charity-wise. If we know there’s something going on, we try to be there.”
Douglas, a mother who is studying to become an EMT, said the Lone Grove branch is home to people from all walks of life who share a love of motorcycles and a common goal.
 “As long as you have that heart to help other people, you’re an Iron Rider for life,” Douglas said. “We have one thing we want to achieve, and that’s helping kids and vets in our community.”