Local book clubs donate hundreds of gifts to Toys for Tots

Published 7:37 pm Friday, December 7, 2018

Literature lovers from Beaufort County’s 25 book clubs gathered for food, fellowship and a good cause at the Washington Yacht & Country Club on Thursday. For the ninth year, the Tea and Topics Book Club held its annual Toys for Tots Luncheon and collected hundreds of Christmas gifts that will be delivered to children in need right here in Beaufort County.

“All of the members of the book clubs that attend bring toys,” explained Tea and Topics member Jackie Woolard. “Then the Marines take those toys and distribute them in different places.”

For year after year, countless gifts have been donated through the generosity of these area book club members. As the event has grown over the years, venues have changed from place to place, and now, Woolard says that WYCC has been very receptive to the event’s needs.

“After the first year of anything, you kind of reassess if it’s worth the time and effort, and absolutely, this is worth the time and effort,” Woolard said. “Number one, because of the children. Number two, because it’s a wonderful opportunity to pay homage to those who served, and number three, it’s just a good morale builder for the county.”

Now in its 71st year, the Marine Corps Toys for Tots program has touched countless lives during the course of its existence. On hand to accept the gifts, retired USMC Sgt. Arthur Romans and a cadre of three marines volunteered their time to come from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point for the day’s event.

“Beaufort County has quite a few organizations distributing Toys for Tots, so all the toys collected here will be divided among them,” Romans said. “I think last year, Toys for Tots distributed about 18 million toys to about seven million children.”

HONORED GUESTS: Tea and Topics Book Club member Jackie Woolard offers a few words to kick off Thursday’s event, flanked by fellow member Carolyn Wetmore and retired U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Arthur Romans. (Matt Debnam/Daily News)

Romans went on to explain that for every dollar donated to Toys for Tots, 98 cents is spent to purchase more toys for children, with the other two cents going toward promotional materials and advertising. While the Marine Corps proudly serves as one of the nation’s most powerful lines of defense, Romans says that programs like Toys for Tots allow marines to perform a different type of service.

“It gets us out in the community and allows us to come out to organizations like these that can give back to their own community,” Romans said. “It’s a pleasure for us to come out and give back to the community as well, because without the community, we wouldn’t have anybody to serve. We like to make a positive impact and let people know that even though we’re the military, we can do other stuff that shows we care for our local populace.”

Each year, local children grace the event with special musical performances. This year’s group was the Washington Montessori Public Charter School violin class.