Robert Pandya, a motorcycle industry veteran and founder of the GiveAShift initiative that initiated the fund drive, says “motorcyclists are incredibly generous”.
The fund-raising project should go some of the way to dispelling the image of riders flouting social distancing and risking the spread of the coronavirus through the community and taking it back home when they return after the nine-day rally.
Organisers expect about 250,000 to attend the rally which is half the usual crowd.
Sturgis Mayor Mark Carstensen says they have increased cleaning schedules and cancelled many group activities. Following the rally, a mass Covid-19 testing program will be held.
Michael Osterholm, head of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, says the rally could cause a major virus spread.
“Come mid-August to late August, early September, Sturgis will have one hell of an imprint on this country,” he says.
Meanwhile, the Sturgis Meals on Wheels (SMoW) program has already been stretched thin by the pandemic increasing need and reducing resources, says manager Jamie Helms.
“With the uncertainty of the world right now, our seniors depend on us just so that they don’t have to worry about leaving their homes where they feel safe,” he says.
“With our ageing population taking the city advice to quarantine for a couple of weeks after the rally, we are a needed service now more than ever, but we will get it done as we always do.”
Cash donations will be accepted under the blue tent at 1230 Lazelle St between 2-5pm from today (8 August) until next Saturday.
Click here for the official GoFundMe page for those who chose not to attend the event.
“We respect any riders who choose not to come to the event due to Covid, but encourage them to ‘donate a tank’ to thank and help the local seniors who have seen the rally become the most famous of its kind in the world,” Robert says.
“Supporting the Sturgis Meals on Wheels program is a natural fit for any biker and will have a hugely positive impact for local senior citizens.”