On Saturday, December 15, Donald Pearson of Pearson Capital, along with help from Account Manager, Ann Hathaway, will host a Big Collection Party for Toys for Tots at The Alley, located at 10221 Big Bend Rd. in Riverview. The party, which will be held from 1-5 p.m., is a culmination of the Toys for Tots collection effort that has taken place now for 13 years. These local Toys for Tots Campaigns are the heart and soul of the Marine Toys for Tots Program managed by dedicated United States Marines and local volunteers.

Donald and his father, Walter Pearson, held their first Toys for Tots Collection Party in 2005 where businesses donated 32 boxes of toys. The Big Collection Party used to be held at the VFW, but when they outgrew the space, it was moved to The Alley, 10221 Big Bend Rd. in Riverview. Due to Pearson’s collection efforts, this is now the top collection in Hillsborough County.

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. The price of admission is the donation of an unwrapped toy, bike or cash donation. There will be a DJ entertaining, and Santa Claus will be there from 2-4 p.m. to delight the younger crowd.

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

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 from the 4th Assault Amphibian Battalion 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, email Hathaway at pearsoncapital7@gmail.com. For more information on the Marines Toys for Tots, visit www.toysfortots.org.

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Michelle has been with the Osprey Observer for almost nine years, and her current position is Assignment Editor. She resides in Bloomingdale with her husband Phil, two sons, Philip and Matthew, and Tigger the cat.