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Carson collecting again for Toys for Tots

| Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, 9:10 p.m.
For The Independent-Observer
Jim Carson stands with some of the donations for his annual Toys-for-Tots drive. Rachel Basinger | For The Independent-Observer

Jim Carson has been collecting for the Toys for Tots charity for eight to 10 years and with the help and support of the community has been able to give thousands of toys for those children in need.

These days, the Toys for Tots representatives don't even bother to send someone to pick up all of the donated items.

Instead, the owner of Carson's Tavern drives the toys down to the collection site in New Stanton himself.

Last year, after the community showed support and the sixth-grade class at Southmoreland Middle School got involved, Carson had to actually get a bus to haul down all of the toys that were received.

“We don't have quite that many toys this year, but I still don't know what is going to come through from the middle school yet,” Carson said.

Brian Pritts, a social studies teacher and sixth-grade academic team leader, said the sixth-grade students got involved last year after the staff was looking for a project for something for the students.

This year, the idea was once again brought up at a faculty meeting and it was decided that the whole school should participate in the Toys-for-Tots campaign.

“We try to do little things throughout the year that helps the kids and I think the collection is going well,” he said.

Pritts added they have some boxes already full of toys, but they're hoping this week will bring in a late surge, since the collection at the school will end Friday.

“We're just looking for ways we can help,” he said.

Carson said he will be collecting toys at his restaurant along Broadway near the Mutual Aid ambulance station through the end of the day Sunday.

He plans to deliver them Monday.

“There are a lot of kids out there who are in need — especially with the economy — people have less and less, and I think Toys for Tots is a great program,” Carson said.

He added seeing the warehouse filled with toys when he makes his delivery is really a “pick-me-up” for him.

“It's just a great cause and I get a good bit of support from the community,” Carson said. “It's just a great way for the community to come together.”

Donated toys should be new and can be for children ages one to 18.

Rachel Basinger is a freelance writer.