By LOIS KINDLE
While you’re out and about doing holiday shopping or making purchases online, remember there are kids in our area whose parents can’t afford to buy them gifts for Christmas. You can help change that.
The annual Pearson Capital South Shore Toys for Tots collection for the Marine Corps Reserve is under way, and scores of local businesses are hosting boxes, hoping folks will fill them with new, unwrapped toys.
“This is our 17th year,” said campaign coordinator Ann Hathaway, accounts manager for Pearson Capital. “Over the years, thanks to the generosity of the businesses and residents of South Shore, we’ve collected tens of thousands of toys and cash, and thousands of bicycles.
Pearson Capital owner Don Pearson has agreed to match $1 for every $2 in cash donated up to $10,000. This means he could add another $5,000 to the total amount the Marines receive to purchase toys for age groups needing additional donations. Usually this includes babies and preteens, Hathaway said.
As it has for almost 10 years, Pearson Capital has partnered with The Alley https://www.restaurantji.com/fl/riverview/the-alley-at-southshore-/ at Southshore to provide a location for businesses to drop off their boxes. In the past, this wrap-up event was held indoors, but due to continued uncertainties about the pandemic, it will once again take place outdoors. This year’s drive-through drop-off will take place between 1 and 3 p.m. Dec. 4 in The Alley’s parking lot at 10220 Big Bend Road.
Marines from the 4th Amphibious Assault Battalion in Tampa will be on hand to accept the boxes, and Santa (a k a John Smith, of Wimauma) will be there to greet everyone. Cookies and candy will be handed out.
Last December, South Shore residents and area businesses donated $14,941 in cash, 5,800 toys and 72 bicycles. In 2019, those figures were $9,000 in cash, 7,500 toys and about 30 bikes.
This year’s Toys for Tots initiative aims to triple the number of toys distributed in the (Hillsborough County) community,” said Marine Staff Sgt. Natalie Wilson, campaign coordinator. “We got the 2021 campaign off to a strong start with early donations that enabled us to purchase over $100,000 worth of gifts for the community. We have more than 40 events scheduled to spread the festive spirit of the holidays and are excited to be here to support one another. We are poised and ready to do our part to make this year’s Christmas special for all.”
Families seeking help this year should contact their child’s school or visit https://toysampa-fl.toysfortots.org/ and click Request a Toy.
The following is a partial list of South Shore area box locations for dropping off donations of new, unwrapped toys:
Rachel’s Family Salon, 5473 U.S. 41 N,
Century 21 Beggins Enterprises, 6542 U.S. 41 N,
Southshore Falls Clubhouse, 5831 Cascade Falls Drive,
Cigars on the Boulevard, 1438 Apollo Beach Blvd.;
Rowdy’s Pet Resort, 13141 Kings Lake Drive,
Oops A Daisy Flowers & Gifts, 7130 Big Bend Road;
Texas Roadhouse, 13006 U.S. 301 S,
The Alley, 10221 Big Bend Road,
NV Salon, 13107 U.S. 301 S,
Hacienda Heights MHP, 7101 Gibraltar Ave.,
Riverview Smiles, 10389 Big Bend Road;
Mango Jo’s, 2626 E. College Ave.,
SouthShore Chamber, 201 Shell Point Road W,
Harriet’s Flowers, 226 College Ave. W,
Champion Self Storage, 2809 College Ave. E,
At Home Auto Care, 2003 U.S. 41 S,
The Fish House, 1902 Shell Point Road W;
Sun City Center
Cora Physical Therapy, 1513C Sun City Center Plaza,
Bogg’s Jewelers, 4852 S.R. 674,
Sun City Center Funeral Home, 1851 Rickenbacker Drive,
Kings Point North Clubhouse and South Club,
So. Hillsborough Chamber, 1651 Sun City Center Plaza
Bass Pro Shops, 10501 Palm River Road, Tampa,
Brandon Crossroads Bowl, 609 Crater Lane, Tampa.
For more information or other box locations, call 813-645-6392.