Donated toys bring Carroll kids joy

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HILLSVILLE – Students at Carroll County High School helped to make Christmas a little brighter for children in need.

Through a collaboration with the Carroll Christmas Fund, students set up donation boxes throughout the county’s schools to collect donated toys.

The students, who are members of the Yearbook Club and the Rotary Interact Club, were responsible for placing boxes at all the schools, as well as Carroll County Public Schools central office, the bus garage and maintenance staff areas. Once the Dec. 7 deadline was met, the students went back to collect the boxes and bring the donations back to CCHS, where they were loaded into cars for delivery.

According to Shannon Dalton, sponsor teacher for both clubs, the Yearbook Club tries to give back to the community each year around the holidays with a service project, and this is something they have taken on for about six years now. The Rotary Interact Club has the goal of giving back every day, so the toy drive naturally fits in to their activities.

“It’s a really important thing and we are glad we can give back and bring happiness,” said Dalton.

The project originally started as CJ’s Christmas Fund when CJ Gordon — the grandson of Carroll teacher Shanda Sinnett — passed away on Nov. 18, 2011. “The principals wanted to do something to help and my daughter said she didn’t want any flowers, so we asked them to donate toys,” Sinnett said.

The toy drive has happened every year since among Carroll schools’ faculty and staff and now the older students are stepping in to help. “They’ve kind of completely taken over this year,” Sinnett said. “It’s good because this way, it’ll always keep going because [Dalton] will always have a Yearbook Club.”

Dalton explained that the collaboration with the Carroll Christmas Fund helps to streamline the project to make sure that all families in need are getting help around the holidays. The fund will be serving approximately 500 families in Carroll County this year, and the estimated 450 toys collected by the schools will be a big help.

“One important aspect of the Carroll Christmas Fund is that we are a completely volunteer, non-profit organization,” said DeAnn Smith of Dawn Auction Company, the organizers behind the fund. “Every dollar donated goes to buying toys or food for the boxes and all the boxes are delivered within Carroll County.”

The school system is also heavily involved in the annual food drive that helps to deliver meal boxes and Bibles to needy families. “The schools are doing food drives, which is a tremendous help to this cause,” said Smith. “We could not do this without them as 90 percent of the canned goods that go into the boxes are provided by our local students."

Christmas fund volunteers sought

Volunteers are being sought to help pack boxes to be delivered to less fortunate families in Carroll County.

Each year, the Carroll Christmas Fund solicits funds from citizens of the area, civic clubs, law enforcement, and businesses to help pay for food and toy boxes. Coats will also be distributed as part of the project.

The fund is accepting canned and non-perishable food items, new and unwrapped toys and monetary donations. Toy donations were due by Monday; food donations are due by today, Wednesday; and monetary donations can be made anytime.

In 2015, 460 boxes were delivered. This year, that number is expected to surpass 500.

The Carroll County Department of Social Services provided the names of families who will receive the boxes.

The boxes will be packed Thursday, beginning at 6 p.m. at Virginia Produce located in the Carroll County Industrial Park. Everyone is invited to help pack the boxes.

The boxes will be delivered on Dec. 17, starting from Virginia Produce at 8 a.m.

Volunteers are needed for both events and anyone is welcome to help.

To make a donation or for more information about the Christmas fund, call (276) 728-918. Coats, toys and monetary donations can also be dropped off at Dawn Auction in Hillsville.