By Michelle Colesanti

On Sunday, December 14, Donald Pearson of Pearson Capital, along with help from Account Manager, Ann Hathaway, will host a Big Collection Party at The Alley, located at 10221 Big Bend Rd. in Riverview. The party, which will be held from 3-7 p.m., is a culmination of a Toys for Tots collection effort that has taken place now for nine years.

Donald and his father, Walter Pearson, held their first Toys For Tots Collection Party where businesses donated 32 boxes of toys. The Big Collection Party used to be held at the VFW, but they outgrew the space, and last year it was moved to The Alley, where 133 businesses gathered, making Pearson’s endeavor one of the top collections in Hillsborough County. Among the collection were 43 bicycles and $4,000 in cash.

“Owner of the Alley, Jeff Boje, donates paper plates, soft drinks and silverware as well as the space,” said Donald.

Throughout the early season, 100 collection boxes are set up at various local businesses. The businesses then bring the collected toys to the party.

The party is open to the public and families are welcome to come and enjoy food and soft drinks for free. About 200-300 people are expected to attend. The price of admission is the donation of an unwrapped toy. There will be a DJ entertaining, and Santa Claus will be there to delight the younger crowd.

Donald feels good knowing that every needy family in the SouthShore area will be taken care of. He feels blessed that this is something he can do to give back to the community.

He said, “It is nice to find ways to give back.”

He personally makes sure that there is enough food and drink for all of those who attend.

“You come to the party and I guarantee the shrimp will not run out,” he commented.

For more information, or to make a cash or check (written out to Toys for Tots) donation, call Pearson at 641-7575.

The Marines will be in attendance to welcome visitors as well as to help gather up the toys at the end of the party, when they will bring the donations to the Toys For Tots distribution centers.

For more information on the Marines Toys for Tots, visit http://tampa-fl.toysfortots.org/local-coordinator-sites/lco-sites/Default.aspx.