Breaking records: Book clubs donate to Toys for Tots

Published 8:33 pm Wednesday, December 4, 2013

PACTOLUS — Beaufort County had its largest book-club meeting ever as 15 area book clubs gathered together for a Toys for Tots Christmas celebration Wednesday.
The Tea and Topics Book Club organized the event.
“I just love it because it gets everybody in the Christmas spirit,” said Betty Wilson with Tea and Topics. “And they’re so excited to help Toys For Tots.”
The luncheon featured a performance by Pactolus Elementary School’s steel-drum band and a presentation from the O’Henry Book Club.
“We’re celebrating our 100th anniversary, which is today,” said Jane McCotter, a member of O’Henry.
Club members Jan Hamblin and Cathy Whichard gave a presentation honoring the founding members and sharing accounts of their earliest meetings from O’Henry records.
Each book club in attendance came with toys for the nonprofit organization, which was started in 1947 by a Marines reservist, according to 1st Sgt. Frank Rivera. He and several Camp Lejeune Marines attended the luncheon.
“We do this to bring a message of hope and to give back to the communities we live in,” Rivera said.
When the Toys for Tots Christmas celebration started four years ago, 100 book-club members attended. The event has grown every year. This year, 157 book-club members were a part of the toy drive.
“We have broken the record this year,” said Carolyn Wetmore, one of the organizers. “You know what that means? That means a lot of toys for a lot of children.”
The local Toys for Tots drive is organized by the Washington Noon Rotary. Rich Morin and Vincent Tesoro attended the luncheon to accept the donations.
“They’ve always been one of the largest collections in pour area, a generous group,” Morin said of the book clubs.
“The numbers and enthusiasm increases every year,” added Tesoro. “This year, because of the economy, there’s an even greater need. I urge everyone to locate a drop box and make a contribution of a new unwrapped toy.”