Rides, Rallies and Events Recap

Chris & Luana Mitten's Bags for Breakfast Ride – Tampa, Florida

Written by  November 30, 2005

Towards the beginning of every November for the last six years the Forest Hills area of Tampa hears a Sunday morning rumble that isn't a Florida thunderstorm. It's a number of different folks on motorcycles heading to Chris and Luana Mitten's house for a breakfast with a purpose.

The Mitten's began hosting this event on their own for the purpose of raising cash and providing a backpack for children who are in the foster care program and often get shuffled around from place to place. A number of years ago Luana relayed to me at the breakfast that many of these children didn't even have so much as a suitcase or bag to carry their belongings in; some of them had their clothing in big garbage bags. She and Chris decided to do something about this. Through both of their efforts and with the help of a group of friends, many of whom are long time Tampa Bay area motorcycle riders, the first breakfast was held. With these friends acting as everything from short order cooks to food service support staff and even an occasional Bloody Mary-making bartender, the breakfast was a rousing success.

Typically the event consists of breakfast from 9:30 to 11:30 followed by a beautiful group motorcycle ride to the Bayport Inn in Aripeka for refreshments and possibly a delicious grouper sandwich. Over the years this selfless event has drawn from 20 people the first year to 100 people willing to make a small difference in a child's life. That's no small undertaking when you're doing all of the legwork and footing the bill for a crowd of egg-hungry Harley riders. With Luana's background as an elementary school teacher, Chris' contacts from his job as a salesperson at the local Anheuser-Busch distributor, and over 20 years in the Tampa Harley community, the attendees represent a variety of folks, all with the same goal in mind. The admission is two kids' backpacks per person or three per couple; or $20 per person or $30 per couple. During this year's event, the Mitten's raised over $1500 and 40 backpacks—not too shabby!

While we all know of charitable events that are held everywhere on a local and a national level that raise money into the millions of dollars, this particular event is one that the Mitten's have chosen to do on their own, out of their pocket, and on a grass roots level. It's an event that brings people together for a purpose we can all appreciate and makes us appreciate just a little bit more what we have. The Mitten's have shown year after year now that they truly have some class. Bags for Breakfast is not an event they want to become a huge undertaking but is a way for Luana to continue to give out of her love of children and for Chris to show that his heart is as big as his shoulders. It's typical of events that I'm sure are held all the time everywhere that don't ask for publicity or recognition but help other people in need asking nothing in return.

Next time you hear of a small personally run motorcycle-related benefit, show them your support and give us all a better name.

Story & Photos by Doze