Tea and Topics touts Toys for Tots

Published 9:39 pm Thursday, December 6, 2012

Lance Corporal Michael Brown (left) and First Sergeant Frank Rivera, based in Camp Lejeune, collected Toys for Tots gifts at the Tea and Topics book club’s Toys for Tots luncheon at the Washington Yacht and County Club on Thursday. (WDN Photo/Vail Stewart Rumley)

A mound of toys for girls and boys — that’s what Tea and Topics book club, with a little help from some friends, collected Thursday for the Toys for Tots Christmas toy drive.
The third-annual holiday gathering of Beaufort County book clubs at the Washington Yacht & County Club brought in more than 150 Toys for Tots-bound gifts, and a few good men — several Marines from Camp Lejeune as guests of the book clubs.
Of the 20 book clubs in Beaufort County, 13 were represented at Thursday’s event, for a total of 130 attendees.
The tradition started five years ago with Tea and Topics book club, said Carolyn Wetmore. Wetmore, along with Sandy Grady, organize the luncheon — one that has grown exponentially since its beginning, both in numbers and scope. It was such a hit within their book club, they decided to invite all Beaufort County book clubs to join in the fun — and the giving, according to Wetmore.
Along with visiting Marines collecting gifts from arriving women and stacking them in colorful displays, entertainment was expanded this year to include a brief concert by the John Small Eagle Chorus, a serenade of Christmas songs by the 47 local fifth-graders.
Next to them, stacks of toys for the less-fortunate filled the county clubs’ small stage.
It was a U.S. Marine Corps Reservist who started the Toys for Tots program in California in 1947, as a way to bring “Christmas joy to America’s needy children.” Its popularity was immediate and quickly grew to encompass all U.S. states.
While events like the Toys for Tots luncheon gather many donated toys, donating to Toys for Tots doesn’t require a book club membership: local residents can add to a child’s Christmas joy by delivering a new, unwrapped toy to drop-off stations across the county. The front offices of many businesses and government agencies host the trademark Toys for Tots white boxes with their red logos. Gifts will be collected until Dec. 13, after which they will be collected at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Washington, then distributed to needy children within the community.