Volunteers help students stuff a school bus with toys at Carrollton Elementary Friday. The school community donated, at a very rough estimate, 250 toys for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys For Tots campaign.

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Carrollton school gives to Toys for Tots

Published 9:56pm Friday, November 30, 2012

Legend has it that Santa gets about in a sleigh powered by flying reindeer, but he and his significant other let the horses run Friday when they cruised into Carrollton Elementary in a red Corvette.

Surprised third-graders, amid stuffing a school bus with gifts for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys For Tots campaign, gave Mr. and Mrs. Claus a rapturous reception.

St. Nick, an old hand at jamming copious amounts of toys into confined spaces, strolled over to the back of the bus to see how things were progressing.

Santa was evidently pleased at the students’ skill, clutching his belly and chuckling — it sounded like “ho-ho-ho” — then delivering a series of high-fives.

The Smithfield High School Packer Band runs the Toys For Tots event, in its fourth year in 2012, and the bus also dropped by Carrsville Elementary to collect toys.

The bus will be unloaded Saturday at Isle of Wight County’s premier Toys For Tots event, the 12th annual Car, Truck & Bike Show and Music & Food Fest at Daniels Performance Group in Smithfield, halfway between Benn’s Church and Chuckatuck at 20128 Iwip Road, Smithfield. Entry into the event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. is via toy donation.

“This is the first year we have gone to Carrsville,” bandleader Aaron Hill said. “Next year I’m going to try to involve the other elementary schools.”

The high school band sees itself as a public service organization, he said, adding, “We get to play for different ceremonies and events.”

The toy drive is a “large undertaking,” he continued, “but when you get the ball rolling, it takes care of itself.”

Carrollton Elementary principal Kevin Goetz said upward of 250 toys were donated by his school’s community. He praised those who gave to brighten the lives of children who otherwise may not wake up Christmas morning and experience the thrill of unwrapping a toy.

Many folks from outside the school also donated, he said. “I just had a family not in our zone leave two large boxes full of toys,” he said. “The wife took two (empty) boxes to her workplace at Langley Air Force Base (and they were filled).”

Third-graders were given the task of ferrying the toys from the school foyer out to the bus.

“Even though we have some students that might be less privileged than others, the giving spirit still exists among our entire community,” Hill said.

He thanked teachers at the elementary schools for being “generous with their time” in supporting the toy drive.

Before leaving Carrollton Elementary, Hill led his band in a performance for the whole school that included many holiday favorites.

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