Christmas is a magical holiday for children, but for many families in Hillsborough County, Christmastime can be a financial struggle to put toys under the tree. Thanks to the efforts of Pearson Capital Inc. and Toys for Tots, thousands of children this year will receive gifts from Santa.
Since 1947, Marine Corps Reserve Units nationwide have encouraged businesses to gather new, unwrapped toys for needy children. Pearson Capital has spearheaded this effort in Southern Hillsborough County through the Toys for Tots program for 18 years now. Last year, Pearson reported that two entire truckloads of toys and 75 bicycles were collected, and more than $15,000 dollars was donated — in part due to the generosity of Don Pearson/Pearson Capital, who matched every dollar at 50 percent up to the max of $5,000. Don has generously offered the same match again this year. Toy collection boxes are now being distributed throughout the area and donations are beginning.
“There are many boxes already out in the community, with more being delivered every day,” said Ann Hathaway of Pearson Capital. “If someone wants to be a Toys for Tots location, you can call 813-645-6392 for a box.”
Some of the annual collection locations include Rachel’s Family Hair Salon, Harriet’s Florist, Bass Pro Shops, The Wine Society, NV Salon, Oops a Daisy florist, the Firehouse Cultural Center, Boggs Jewelers, The Southshore and South Hillsborough chambers of commerce. The communities of MiraBay, Southshore Falls, Kings Point, Waterset, Rice Creek and Hacienda Heights. New this year are Fuzzy’s Tacos on Big Bend Road, Grease Monkey in Ruskin and Flip Flop Shops in Cypress Village Plaza.
“It’s so heartwarming to see the outpouring of generosity of the Southshore Community,” said Hathaway. “Watching the trucks fill up with toys and bikes and knowing how many children will be happily affected by the efforts of this campaign on Christmas morning is overwhelming.”
This year’s collection event is at a new location, CENTURY 21 Beggins at 6542 N. U.S. Hwy. 41 in Apollo Beach. “They have been huge contributors throughout the years, and this year their location will serve as party central,” said Hathaway. “We’d also like to thank CubeSmart storage in Apollo Beach for their donation of a storage unit to help us contain the boxes and any overflow until our event.”
On Saturday, December 3 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at CENTURY 21 Beggins, the Marines will be on hand to accept boxes and toy donations. Santa will make an appearance and there will be Toys for Tots giveaways. There will also be classic cars on display.
Please remember that toys are to be new, unwrapped and in the original packaging. There is often a shortage of toys for children ages 0-2 years old as well as gifts for boys ages 11-14. New bicycles are in high demand each year. Cash donations are also accepted to help fill in the gap to purchase toys that are needed. For more information, call Hathaway at 813-645-6392 or visit https://tampa-fl.toysfortots.org/.