HIRC to hold open house Saturday

The Hollister Independence Rally Committee is giving the
community a chance to learn more about the 4th of July weekend
motorcycle event and find out how to get involved.
The Hollister Independence Rally Committee is giving the community a chance to learn more about the 4th of July weekend motorcycle event and find out how to get involved.

HIRC will host an open house and 2003 rally kick-off Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m. that will allow residents to get information about the rally, volunteering opportunities and the rally’s history.

“Mainly, (we’re having the open house) for community awareness so they can get a better understanding of who we are and where the money goes and how to help out the community,” said HIRC Executive Director Ellen Brown.

Because HIRC has just three employees, volunteer support is vital to the success of the July 4 rally, Brown said. HIRC utilizes up to 400 volunteers for the four-day event.

“We’d never exist without the support of the volunteers,” she said.

This is the first open house HIRC has held. Brown said many people are unsure of what HIRC is and why it’s around year-round since the annual motorcycle event is held for just three days. She invites the public to find out.

Several organizations will be on hand to discuss with the public where rally donations have gone. HIRC has donated over $140,000 to local non-profits over the past four years, Brown said. Non-profit organizations that want to raise funds with the committee can also get information during the open house. HIRC donates $7 for every man-hour provided during the rally by someone connected to a non-profit, Brown said.

The YMCA of San Benito County is one such non-profit agency that has benefited from HIRC donations. YMCA office manager Merri Vieira said last year’s donations helped fund scholarships for children who couldn’t afford to participate in the YMCA’s karate program. About 15 youths from the program sold sodas and snacks to earn HIRC’s donations.

HIRC will also unveil the rally’s new Web site at the open house, and Miss Hollister Independence Rally 2002 and bikers from the original rally in 1947 will attend.

“(The 1947 bikers) are an integral part of the event,” Brown said.

The kick-off and open house will be held at the YMCA, 339 San Benito St., from 1 to 5 p.m. For more information, call HIRC at 634-0777.

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