BELMAR, NJ —Simply Southern Cuisine’s first-ever holiday toy drive certainly was a team effort.

And that’s because restaurant owner Rasheed Simmons knows something about being a team player. The former New York Giant took a page from his playbook and rallied a cadre of others to take part in the festival-style event, which had a distinct motorcycle theme.

While food was being served and live music being played throughout the four-hour event in Belmar Plaza, the parking lot filled up with nearly 70 motorcycles driven by members of New Jersey's Chapter 15 of the Blue Knights Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club and other enthusiasts participating in a custom motorcycle contest. Lined up side by side, their impeccably styled bikes created a glistening sea of chrome and deep metallic colors that sparkled under the late-afternoon sun.

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Serving as the contest’s judge, Simmons was assisted by NFL colleague and friend Deon Grant, a former New York Giant who was part of the Super Bowl XLVI championship team, to help him in that task — as well as take photos with football fans.

Most importantly, piles of donated toys grew atop tables set up outside Simply Southern with more than 150 items collected throughout the event, which will benefit The Unterberg Children’s Hospital at Monmouth Medical Center, Long Branch, and Madonna House, Neptune, The toys will be delivered in November by members of the Blue Knights, a nonprofit organization consisting of active and retired law enforcement officers who enjoy riding motorcycles.

“I want to make sure that children wake up on Christmas with smiles on their faces and feeling good about themselves,” Simmons said. “My goal is to fill a tractor trailer full of toys to be delivered for the holidays.”

Simply Southern, located at 817 Belmar Plaza, will continue to accept donations of unwrapped toys through November 12. For more information, call 732-243-9259.

 

Lending a Helping Hand

Simply Southern’s first-ever toy drive was supported by the following businesses and organizations:

  • Blue Knights Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club, New Jersey Chapter 15
  • Creative Performance, Wall
  • Shoreline Harley-Davidson in Long Branch
  • Harley-Davidson of Ocean County, Lakewood
  • Jersey Shore BBQ, Belmar
  • 10th Avenue Burrito Company, Belmar
  • Coney Island Waffle, Belmar
  • Shop Local Jersey Shore
  • Live entertainment was provided by the Lone Ramblers and Turtle Soup

 

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