Sadly, abused children are easily overlooked and are often scared into not speaking up.
Joe Jenkins, of Monroeville, is their voice.
Jenkins, the owner of Knucklehead Saloon and Gus's Cafe and Pizzeria in Huron, began Bikers against Abused and Neglected Children after he and his wife Pam traveled out to Arizona in 2010. During their vacation, the couple came upon a Navajo girl who was attached to a pink bicycle at a nearby store.
“We could really see that she really wanted it, but the two people with her didn’t have the money to buy it,” he said.
After talking amongst themselves, they decided to buy the bike for the girl.
“We had to ask the aunt, her guardian, for permission, because her mother had abandoned her,” Jenkins said.
When they returned home, they discussed starting an organization to help children in need, especially those who need to escape negligent conditions.
Their most successful investigation occurred in Ottawa County, where a child in foster care was being abused. With the help of Child Services, the child was removed from the home.
For their efforts, the Norwalk chapter of the Eagles will be present a check for $2,500 to the organization Sunday, August 17 at 7 p.m. at its 151 Cline Street location.
“This is the largest donation we’ve received,” he said. “We’re thankful for it.”
B.A.A.N.C. covers Erie, Sandusky, Wood, Huron, Seneca and Lorain counties in addition to a few others. Since its inception, B.A.A.N.C. has held multiple poker-runs as fundraisers for their cause, including fundraisers for Heather Jackson and her two children, who were murdered in September 2012, and three-year-old Owen Barker, who was murdered in July 2012.
He attended Owen’s funeral to support the family.
“It was the worst thing I’ve ever been to,” he said. “His casket was a box of innocence.”
Struck with sadness, the organization created the Owen Barker Memorial Scholarship and held a poker run this year in his honor on June 1, where all proceeds went towards the scholarship.
In addition to raising money for neglected children, the organization raises money for clothing, school supplies and Christmas gifts to give to children who need them.
Jenkins knows that more must be done to stop child abuse, but realizes that one person’s effort makes a difference.
“Though there are so many bad things that cause people to lose faith in humanity, but it takes one person to bring the faith back,” he said.
Bikers against Abused and Neglected Children is a 501c (3) non-profit organization.
Want to help?
Those interested in donating to the organization may send checks or money order to:
Bikers against Abused and Neglected Children
2012 Cleveland Road West
Huron, OH 44839