1,000 toys

Published 8:17 pm Saturday, December 11, 2010

Dell Carr, a tax preparer at Tax Time, got to play Santa on Saturday during a Toys for Tots distribution.

Giveaway made for ‘a great day’

As a young mother on Saturday poked around the toys laid out on tables in a small office at Tax Time on West Washington Street, she gave Mills Staylor a look of distress.

“What is it?” he asked her. He had been restocking tables for the Toys for Tots distribution his company sponsored for families that had missed the Salvation Army’s signup deadline this year.

“I was hoping I could get my daughter a bicycle,” she replied.

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“Ho, ho, ho! Santa Claus is in the room!” he exclaimed, and before long the mother, Staylor, his family and his employees helping with the distribution were all crying over the small bicycle that he found to send home with her for the little girl.

It was just one of many heartwarming moments Staylor recalled from a day of distributing toys on behalf of Toys for Tots and the Salvation Army. More than ninety families with nearly 200 children in total were expected to visit the office on Saturday in a small strip shopping center near the intersection of West Washington Street and West Constance Road.

This was the second year that Staylor opened his place of business to be used as a distribution point. He got started last year after asking Suffolk Toys for Tots Coordinator John Woleben if he could help in the effort beyond the annual toy collection efforts of his hobbyist group, the Hampton Roads Radio Control Club.

Initially Woleben said the distribution was already covered, but then he told Staylor that there are always families that miss the sign-up deadline and are unable to participate in the “shopping” event Toys for Tots sponsors each year.

Staylor jumped at the chance.

“We are the spillover,” he said Saturday as he took a break from restocking tables laden with toddler basketball goals, dolls, footballs, robots and other toys.

Each child on the list as families checked in next door at the New Birth Outreach Center would receive three large toys and a couple of stocking stuffers, chosen by their parent or guardian with the help of a volunteer in a Santa hat.

By the end of the day, Staylor expected to have given away 1,000 toys, with any leftovers to be delivered back to the main Toys for Tots distribution center.

“We know there’s a need out there,” he said. “It’s been a great day.”

It was a memorable one, as well.

Staylor recalled one young couple that had visited the office Saturday morning, soon after the distribution started. The man was out of work, and Toys for Tots had provided a way to save Christmas for his family.

As the man and his wife finished filling a bag with toys, Staylor recalled, the man looked at him and said, “I’m going to get on my feet again, and when I get on my feet I’m going to help out with Toys for Tots.”