A little help for Santa

Published 10:08 pm Monday, December 14, 2009

Santa has some new helpers in Suffolk this holiday season.

A Suffolk tax service company is partnering with the local chapter of the U.S. Marine’s Toys for Tots charity to get toys to those in need this season.

“I felt it was something we could do to give something back to the community this year,” said Mills Staylor, owner of Instant Tax Service and resident of Suffolk for over more than 60 years. “We’re real excited about it. Hopefully, we’ll help some folks have a better Christmas this year.”

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Staylor’s distribution is supplementary to other efforts in the area. The Toys for Tots’ annual drive organization is distributing toys this week to Suffolk families in need.

Many of those who will receive toys during the Instant Tax Service distribution were not registered early enough to join the regular Salvation Army Distribution, taking place this week at the Suffolk Plaza Shopping Center, Woleben said. Without the company’s help, many of those families’ children might have gone without Christmas presents this year.

While final numbers are not yet in, John Woleben, a coordinator for the Suffolk effort, estimated over more than 1,000 toys were had been collected within the past week for Toys for Totsfor distribution in the weekend event.

“[Nansemond Suffolk Academy] gave 524 toys last week,” he said. “They always do a super job for us.” The Simulation Center inin the Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center in northern North Suffolk also made a donation of 300 to 500 toys, Woleben estimated.

Instant Tax Services of Suffolk also had a drop box for toys, which will be among those distributed this weekend.

Staylor has been helping Toys for Tots since he was a Marine in the ‘60s. This year’s effort, however, is part of Instant Tax Service’s nationally coordinated campaign.

“Our goal is to put at least one new toy into the hands of each deserving child from our neighborhoods this holiday season,” said Shelly Ran, the company’s chief operating officer.

Staylor and volunteers in his office expect to be giving away more than one toy per child, though.

“We are anticipating over 100 families will come by to pick up toys for their kids on Saturday,” Staylor said. The company also has been collecting toys to give out..

Each family will receive three toys per child, “but families should have pre-registered so they don’t have to stand in line for so long,” he said. Most families need to be screened to determine eligibility, but he expects some families that have not registered will show up.

If that happens, “We’ll try to make some on-the-spot decisions. We’ll try to take care of everyone,” he said. “After 3 p.m., if we have toys left, we’ll try to meet everyone’s needs.”

The extra toy distribution will be held at 911 W. Washington St. from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

While drop boxes are closed, if you are interested in helping meet those needs, tEven after the Toys for Tots distribution is complete, there is a desperate need for cash donations to help pay for the toys.

The Suffolk News Herald’s Cheer Fund collects cash donations for the current and future purchasing of toys for Toys for Tots. Checks may be made out to the Suffolk News-Herald Cheer Fund and mailed to, P.O. Box 1220, Suffolk, VA 23434, or bring contributions to 130 S. Saratoga St.