IW couple seeks toy support

Published 11:25 pm Friday, September 20, 2013

Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive at an Isle of Wight County Toys for Tots event at Carrollton Elementary School last year.

Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive at an Isle of Wight County Toys for Tots event at Carrollton Elementary School last year.

An Isle of Wight County couple organizing the Toys For Tots campaign hopes to drum up more support than ever this year after Southampton County was added to its coverage area.

David and Elizabeth Moose, who have been running the campaign for 12 years, will now collect toys for needy children at Christmas in Isle and Wight, Surry and Southampton counties.

“I’m very excited,” Elizabeth Moose said. “We didn’t have any horrible problem last year, we were able to get a lot of volunteers. The more kids we can benefit, the better.”

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Adding to the magnitude of the Mooses’ task is the fact that, according to Elizabeth Moose, the U.S. Marine Corps campaign has no one organizing the effort in Hampton or Newport News.

That means the Mooses will accept toy requests from those cities, and hope to fulfill them to the best of their ability.

Elizabeth Moose said they need volunteers for their toy distribution warehouse, as well as individuals, community groups, and businesses to host collection events.

“It can be as simple as putting a box in their office and asking everybody to bring something,” she said. “It could be a car wash — though it’s getting a little cold for that — a dance or a garage sale.”

The annual campaign also takes donations, she said, with checks to be made out to “Toys For Tots.”

In fact, donating cash has a benefit over donating actual toys. The campaign has the buying power to purchase twice as many toys the same amount of money would get at Walmart, Moose said.

The main event currently on the couple’s calendar is a Dec. 7 car show and cruise at Charlie Daniels Racing in Smithfield.

Vehicle registration is from 8 to 10 a.m. The public events starts at 10 a.m., with the Smithfield High School Band set to perform at 11 a.m.

Santa Claus is scheduled to arrive by Nightingale helicopter at noon, but there will be an alternative plan to get St. Nick to the show if the air ambulance is called to a job, Moose said.

There will also be a stuff-the-bus campaign involving schools in Isle of Wight County.

“At this point, we are trying to get events together,” Moose said, asking those who would like to host an event to visit www.toysfortots.org to register their intent to do so.

In the warehouse, toys are sorted, selected according to parents’ wishes, bagged and assigned a number, and then distributed, she said.

“We could use the help for an hour or a hundred hours — you get to choose,” she said.

Moose said she has supported Toys For Tots all these years, because it has been helping needy families since 1947, and “every child deserves a toy at Christmas.” She is also impressed with the organization’s efficiency, noting that 97.3 cents of every dollar donated goes to toys for children at Christmas.

“It’s a great charity, and they run it right,” she said.