SOUTHERN PINES, N.C. – Tis the season to spread love, cheer and kindness throughout the community, and there is not a more recognizable charity that encompasses these qualities than Toys for Tots.
The mission of the Toys for Tots program is to collect new, unwrapped toys and distribute them as Christmas gifts to local children who are less fortunate than others. The charity hopes to spread a message of hope and unity to all involved.
And two local businesses sprang into action to make sure toys and gifts will be delivered this holiday season.
On Saturday, December 9, Wesley Jackson Premier Real Estate and Elliotts on Linden, both located in Moore County, co-hosted their inaugural Charity Gala in honor of Toys for Tots at 305 Trackside on Broad Street in Southern Pines.
According to Wesley Jackson, who has ties to Richmond County, the idea for the event was one he created when he decided he wanted to host an event for his clients.
“I definitely wanted the have a Christmas party for my clients,” Jackson noted. “But I wanted to do something good too.”
And that charity that came to mind was Toys for Tots.
“My wife, Bethany, and my administrator, Ashley, ran with the idea and found the vendors,” Jackson explained.
Bethany Jackson, Wesley Jackson and his administrator Ashley at the Charity Gala.
According to Wesley Jackson Real Estate’s Instagram page, the company went on shopping sprees at Wal-Mart to buy toys to give out this year.
Some of the vendors at the gala included Richmond County Schools teachers Michelle and Brad Denson, who were setup with a photo booth service. Robert and Renee Smith acted as the night’s DJs, while Elliotts on Linden provided food for the event. Reverie Cocktails served drinks, and live entertainment was supplied by local singer Becca Rae from Southern Pines.
The event was open to anyone who had interest, but tickets were required for the event due to the size of the space. Cost of admission was not monetary, as entrance was admitted to those who brought one or more unwrapped toys to donate.
However, some attendees brought in much more than one gift. More specifically, two donors contributed more than $2,000 a piece toward the charity gala.
Jackson explained that in regard to the amount of people, 305 Trackside was at full capacity.
At the toy drive’s end, 17 total Toys for Tots boxes were filled with donated Christmas goods. Jackson noted that the total monetary amount of toys collected was right around $8,000, which will spread a lot of smiles on Christmas morning to local children.
“We really appreciate all of the support,” Jackson said. “People keep thanking me, but it was all of the people who came and contributed. I am really proud of our communities.”