Local business Pearson Capital, Inc. has been supporting Toys for Tots for 16 years. It is looking to the community for businesses to become involved.

A local business is hoping to make the holidays brighter for children in need and is looking for help.

“Before 2005, the Apollo Beach Chamber used their December business after hours to collect toys for Toy for Tots for the holiday season,” said Pearson Capital’s account manager, Ann Hathaway. “When that tradition ended, Don Pearson, our executive director, felt that the community could help and distributed about 25 boxes to businesses in the area with the idea of Pearson Capital hosting a party to gather the full boxes in one place for the Marines to collect.”

That place was the VFW post in Ruskin. Local chambers of commerce all pitched in to promote the event to their members, businesses and individuals joined in and things just multiplied.

Over the years, the event grew so large that the VFW post could no longer accommodate the crowd.

“That’s when The Alley at Southshore stepped up and partnered with Pearson,” Hathaway said. “On event day, The Alley welcomed Marines, businesses, families, individuals and, of course, Santa,” she said. “Guests have been treated to a wonderful buffet with soft drinks and desserts, all among the thousands of toys and bicycles packing the building.”

Pearson Capital is always looking for more locations to host a box, and with all the new growth in the SouthShore area, there are lots of places that haven’t been tapped.

“Offices, stores, restaurants and housing communities can all participate,” Hathaway said. “They just need to let me know they’d like to help. If you can’t host a box, then be sure to drop in a toy or two anywhere you see one. You can always join us for our collection event and donate there. And it goes without saying, we accept cash donations as well. That money always helps the Marines fill in the gaps for the babies and preteens that seem to occur.”

If you’d like to help Person Capital, Inc. collect toys for Toys for Tots, contact Hathaway at 645-6392. On Saturday, December 4 from 1-4 p.m., Pearson Capital and The Alley at Southshore will be hosting a toy drop-off event.

“We’ll have some goodies to share for those who drop off their boxes and maybe Santa will be on hand to greet you,” Hathaway said. “Marines will be in attendance to load those trucks too.”

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Libby is a writer for The Osprey Observer/The Christian Voice. She started as an intern in 2009 and upon finishing her internship, she was asked to stay on as a permanent writer for both papers. Libby lives in Brandon with her two rescue dogs, Olive and Bogey.