Toys for Tots

As usual, boxes of Toys for Tots lined the front of the dais in the town commission meeting room this holiday season. (Town of Cedar Point photo)

CEDAR POINT — Residents and business owners in Cedar Point and nearby communities contributed an estimated 5,000 to 6,000 toys and other items to the U.S. Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots drop-off point in town hall.

Arlayne Calhoun, the town’s administrative assistant and finance technician, said the items filled 20 large boxes, all of which were picked up by Marines from Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune at the beginning of the town board of commissioners’ meeting Tuesday night.

Town commissioners and audience members helped carry the boxes out for transport to the base in Jacksonville and distribution to children who otherwise might not have had presents under the Christmas tree.

Mayor Scott Hatsell said the town’s residents and business people never cease to amaze him with their generous contributions.

“Every year they come through,” he said.

The town reserves the board’s last meeting of the year for the pickup, schedules little or no other business and invites attendees to enjoy refreshments at the end.

The Marines usually come during the middle of the meeting, but arrived early this year, and the mayor urged the audience to help with the loading.

Ariayne Calhoun, who along with Town Clerk Jayne Calhoun spearheads the collection effort that begins in November, agreed with the mayor’s opinion of the community’s enduring generosity.

“I think we’re all well pleased, especially considering we’ve had hurricanes in the fall the last two years in a row,” she said, citing the disastrous Hurricane Florence in September 2018 and the significant Hurricane Dorian in September of this year.

Arlayne Calhoun said the town was also pleased with the results of its coat drive, which it undertook for the second consecutive year.

“We’ve (got) up to over 60 coats, 10 of them donated by Neuse Sports Shop,” a town business at the intersection of Highway 24 and Masonic Avenue, she added. “And there will be more.”

The new coats and jackets are distributed to those who need them by the Carteret County school system.

The coat drive began last year at the impetus of Mayor Hatsell. He grew up in Swansboro with a single mother and remembers Christmases with few gifts and the struggle of not having enough food at times and not enough warm clothes in winter. He decided that, especially in the aftermath of Florence, toys just weren’t enough. The coat drive has now become a new tradition.

He said he’s pleased the town can help those who need aid.

Contact Brad Rich at 252-864-1532; email; or follow on Twitter @brichccnt.

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