By LOIS KINDLE
The boxes are out and waiting to be filled as the 18th Annual Pearson Capital South Shore Toys for Tots Drive for the Marine Corps Reserve gets underway.
The effort helps ensure area kids in need find something special under their trees Christmas morning.
“Last year, we distributed over 57,000 toys to more than 27,000 children in Hillsborough County,” said Toys for Tots coordinator Marines Corps Sgt. Rufus Byrd, of the 4th Amphibian Assault Battalion at MacDill Air Force Base.
South Shore residents play a huge part in the annual effort, and all residents who have signed up get toys.
“Pearson Capital is one of the largest contributors in Hillsborough County, and we count on its drive to help us provide enough toys. Its monetary donations also help.
“Once we have a count of all toys and the number of applicants exceed that amount, we have to go buy toys to fill the gap.”
So keep this in mind while you’re shopping for the holidays, either in person or online, getting your hair done at Rachel’s or NV salons or attending a class or event at the Firehouse Cultural Center. New, unwrapped toys can then be dropped off at one of the Toys for Tots box locations listed at the end of this article.
You can also donate cash for the Marines to purchase gifts for kids in categories generally short of gifts – babies and preteens, especially boys. You can write a check to Toys for Tots and mail it to Pearson Capital, P.O. Box 3739, Apollo Beach, FL 33572, or drop it off between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Dec. 3 during the box drop-off event at Beggins Century 21 Enterprises, 6542 U.S, 41 N, Apollo Beach.
All cash donations up to a total of $10,000 will be matched 50% by Don Pearson, president and CEO of Pearson Capital.
“There’s always a need for people to help the children of [low-income] families during the holidays,” said Ann Hathaway, Pearson Capital accounts manager and the South Shore Toys for Tots annual campaign coordinator. “By donating toys, we all help brighten Christmas for these kids.”
The following locations are among the more than 50 businesses and organizations hosting Toys for Tots boxes in South Shore:
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
Waters Church, 5309 U.S. 41 N
MiraBay Community, 207 Point Harbor Lane
South Shore Montessori, 7006 Sail View Lane
Oops A Daisy Flowers & Gifts, 7130 Big Bend Road
NV Salon, 13107 U.S. 301 S
The Alley, 10221 Big Bend Road
Riverview Montessori, 11520 Ramble Creek Drive
Riverview Smiles, 10389 Big Bend Road
Fuzzy’s Tacos, 10240 Big Bend Road
Flip Flop Shops Sun City, 3818 State Road 674, Cypress Village Shopping Center
SouthShore Chamber, 201 Shell Point Road W
Firehouse Cultural Center, 101 First Ave. NE
Grease Monkey, 2003 U.S. 41 S
Harriet’s Flowers, 226 College Ave. W
Champion Self Storage, 2809 College Ave. E
Ruskin VFW Post 6287, 5120 U.S. 41 N
Moose Lodge, 1212 E. Shell Point Road
Sun City Center
Bogg’s Jewelers, 4852 S.R. 674
South Hillsborough Chamber, 1651 Sun City Center Plaza
Kings Point North Clubhouse, South Club and 2020 Building
Bass Pro Shops, 10501 Palm River Road, Tampa
Brandon Crossroads Bowl, 609 Crater Lane, Tampa
Brandon Montessori, 4223 Lynx Paw Trail, Valrico
For more information or other box locations, call 813-645-6392.