A brighter Christmas for IW tots

Published 9:38 pm Saturday, December 29, 2012

Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus arrive at a Toy for Tots event at Carrollton Elementary School in November. The U.S. Marine Corps campaign in Isle of Wight County was a huge success, organizers said.

Supporters of Toys for Tots in Isle of Wight County helped create a much brighter Christmas for many children, according to a campaign co-organizer.

While the final numbers were yet to be tallied, Elizabeth Moose, who organized the campaign in the county for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves with husband David Moose, reported more than 600 children had benefited as of last Friday.

“We gave out toys right up to Christmas Eve,” Elizabeth Moose wrote in an email.

Email newsletter signup

“Thankfully we received toys right up to the last minute so that we could help those with last-minute needs. … We were at 601 children who received an average of 4.9 toys plus stocking stuffers.”

Less than half of those children also received a book, and Moose anticipated the final number of children who benefited in Isle of Wight to be “around 650.”

Members of the community dug deep to donate a large number of quality toys, Moose wrote, and cash donations meant an additional $5,000 worth of toys were purchased, with an average per-toy cost of $20 to $25.

“Our funds went as far as possible due to the dedication of our volunteer shoppers who searched out the best deals out there on Black Friday and during the first week of December,” according to Moose.

“The citizens who participated and/or volunteered with this year’s campaign were all happy, giving people who know the true meaning of the Christmas spirit.

“They represent many types of people” and various ages, cultural backgrounds, religions and socio-economic groups.

Between major Toys for Tots events on Nov. 3 and Dec. 1 and warehouse operations, 61 volunteers lent a hand to the campaign.

“Some helped a couple of hours, others helped hundreds of hours between pre-planning to final close-out for the year,” Moose wrote.

Two volunteers gave toys they received for their respective birthdays to Toys for Tots. “The youngest was 8 years old and brought in around 20 toys,” Moose wrote. “This was her first time donating her toys. The second was a 60-year-old woman who donated her toys in memory of her nephew, who was a Marine born on Christmas Day who died years ago at a young age in a car accident.

“She donated 303 toys, books and stocking stuffers. This was not her first time doing this.”

The Mooses are already busy preparing events for next year’s Toys for Tots campaign in Isle of Wight County.

“The parents who requested help with toys this year came from all walks of life,” Elizabeth Moose added. “Many had never needed help and were brought to tears during the process.”