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Scottdale campaign nets 150-200 toys for needy children

| Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013, 9:09 p.m.
Sixth-grade students at Southmoreland Middle School helped to put the toys they collected for Toys for Tots on a van driven by Jim Carson, owner of Carson's Tavern, to be taken to the New Stanton facility. They are, from left: Madison Formato, Jazmine Frost, Tessa Hamborsky, Nick Sosko, Ronnie Robinson and Maegan Shetterly. Submitted

Once again this year the combined efforts of Jim Carson, owner of Carson's Tavern, and Southmoreland Middle School in Scottdale resulted in the collection of an abundance of toys for children whose parents cannot afford to buy them gifts at Christmas.

Carson said that he has received 150 to 200 toys this year and took them to the collection site in New Stanton.

“It is still a nice feeling to see the warehouse filled with toys,” Carson said. “I wanted to say ‘thank you' to the community. It takes a lot of people to pull this thing off.”

Carson has been involved in the Toys for Tots program for eight to 10 years and started contributing with the thought of his own children and to benefit less fortunate kids.

For the second straight year, Southmoreland Middle School also was involved in the program.

What started as a project for sixth-graders under the direction of social studies teacher Brian Pitts has turned into a campaign adopted by the entire school. This year that campaign brought about 100 toys. Pritts was satisfied, but he said goals are always high, and he would have loved to see that number even a bit higher. He added that it may have something to do with the economy or perhaps it was not publicized as well as it could have been.

“You're trying to do something good, you want it to be the best it can be,” Pritts said. “I think it was successful. Anytime you can get something together to make a kids' day, it's going to be successful. I think we were able to help numerous kids have something for Christmas.”

Carson and Pritts agreed that Toys for Tots is an amazing program that benefits many children.

“What Jim has done is great,” Pritts said. “I want to thank him as well as the students and staff of Southmoreland Middle School for organizing this event.”

Andrew Hesner is a freelance writer.