Toys for Tots fundraiser Saturday at fairgrounds

Published 10:23 am Tuesday, November 9, 2010


COURTLAND—Wallets have been tight for many people affected by the closure of Franklin’s International Paper earlier this year.

That’s one of reasons why a few local women have collaborated to make sure every child gets some Christmas cheer this year.

Darby Fitzgerald, Tami Kesselring and Anne Marie Semple have been collecting toys for the U.S. Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots program. The trio also organized a Ladies’ Day Out Holiday Extravaganza, which will be held 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 13, at Southampton Fairgrounds.

“With the mill closing down this year, so many families have been affected,” Fitzgerald said. “I know a lot of people who have had to move away or had to make sacrifices like moving into a smaller house or selling their home. I just wanted to do something to help out this holiday season.”

The event will feature 40 vendors and include distributors for Pampered Chef, Sensi, jewelry, clothing and many crafters.

Santa will be at the fairgrounds to take free pictures with children from noon to 4 p.m. The Virginia State Police will be fingerprinting children from 2 to 6 p.m.

The first 50 visitors will receive a discount sheet to use at the many vendor sites.

The Boy Scouts will be selling holiday wreaths, and Girl Scouts will be gift wrapping.

All proceeds will go to the Toys for Tots to purchase toys.

So far, about 100 toys have been collected from vendors and individual businesses.

The YMCA and Pleasure Island in Franklin have both donated to the cause. Fitzgerald’s husband has collected four boxes of toys from Langley Air Force Base, where he works.

There also will be locations set up to accept toy donations at the extravaganza for anyone who wants to donate.

Donated items must be new and can include books, clothing, games, arts and crafts, bicycles, accessories, stuffed animals and more.

Fitzgerald had a former employer who donated to the charity, which is how she got the idea for the fundraiser.

“It’s a good feeling to do something like that,” she said. “There are children out there who may not have had a Christmas, and we don’t want that to happen in Franklin this year.”