Opening presents on Christmas Day is one of the most special moments for kids during the holidays, and a local car dealership partnered with Williams County Social Services and the community to make sure that there are fewer empty stockings this season.

Starting in November, Ryan Motors began their Cheer for Children campaign, collecting toys and gifts for youth in the area. For 30 days the dealership invited members of the community to stop in and drop off toys, games, gift cards and more, culminating in over 500 presents filling the beds of two pickup trucks on the showroom floor. Those toys will be given to Social Services, who will distribute them to youth 18 and under around the community.

“Our goal was to see the toys fill the pickups over the boxes, and we did it,” said Kathy Schod, business manager for the Ryan.

Sales Manager Brian Parker said the dealership has been pushing to become more community involved, giving back to various organizations as a way to help improve the community and show that the dealership is committed to being a part of Williston. Parker said he wanted to do something for children locally, which led to the partnership with Williams County Social Services.

The goal, he added, was to ensure that the campaign would benefit kids in the community, rather than donating to an organization on the state or national level.

“The true drive of our store is community,” Parker told the Williston Herald. “We work here, we live here, we need to take care of each other. We reached out to Williams County Social Services and what they do with the foster children, and we said ‘Wow, what a program.’”

Employees, community members and local businesses all came together during the month to fill the pickups, so much so that Parker said he hopes to make the campaign even bigger next year by challenging the community to fill up four pickup beds.

Parker added that one of the most important aspects of the drive was that people coming in the the dealership not be solicited to buy a vehicle, but simply be free to stop in and give back to those in need.

And the community, Parker said, came out in full force to support the cause.

“We’ve all got to live here and retire here and be part of the community,” Parker said. “It’s nice to be able to go out and shake somebody’s hand and them go ‘Man, that was an amazing thing you did,’ and be able to say ‘No, that was an amazing thing the community did.’ Nobody gets the limelight here, this was the community that did it.”

Seeing the community come together to support its youth goes straight to the heart, Schod said, with Parker adding that real focus is making sure every child is able to open something on Christmas morning.

“Christmas morning is one of the most special days on the planet,” Parker said. “I’m going to be with my family on Christmas, and I’m happy I’ll be able to wake up Christmas morning knowing that we were able to fill so many kids’ hearts.”

Along with the community, several businesses came forward with generous donations as well, including B & G Roustabout Service, American State Bank, First International Bank, Go Wireline, Relay for Life, Trailer & Truck Equipment, Horizon Resources and Hydrostatic LLC among many more that Ryan Motors extends their thanks to.

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