Community comes together for Toy Drive-Thru

Published 1:01 pm Wednesday, December 6, 2023

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Santa will make his way to Greenville for a Toy Drive-Thru event, but instead of driving a reindeer-led sleigh, he will arrive in style by helicopter. 

The Toy Drive-Thru will take place in the parking lot in front of Tractor Supply and Farmers Furniture on Dec. 9 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., with Santa’s arrival taking place around 9:30 a.m. The helicopter comes from Life Flight in Evergreen, and will be present as long as weather permits, and it is not needed for medical transportation. 

JR Shells, owner of JR’s Shrimp, said the vision for this toy drive was inspired by God and has miraculously come together in only a couple of weeks. 

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“The vision was to have a drive-thru toy drive in the shopping center and have Santa Claus present,” Shells said. “That way when the kids drive up, they can get a free picture with Santa, and they can give him their wish lists. I went from business to business here in Greenville’s shopping centers and have around 20 businesses who will be sponsoring the event.”

Shells said that Pepsi Cola is also aiding in sponsorship and will provide over 300 Pepsi products to give out during the toy drive. 

The toys donated will be given to 13 different students, grades Kindergarten through twelve, from Greenville’s public school system. The teachers in each grade will choose one student who they believe will not receive Christmas gifts due to his or her family’s financial situation. If there are not enough gifts donated through the toy drive, the businesses will sponsor each child and provide their gifts. 

“Nobody knows our kids better than their teachers,” Shells said. “We’re going to bless 13 children and make sure they have an awesome Christmas.”

Ricky Crysell, owner of Express Roofing LLC, will be one of the sponsors for the drive and said this is one way for him to help those in need. 

“I grew up poor as a kid and I know what it’s like to not get much for Christmas,” Crysell said. “Helping bring Christmas to kids that may have it hard like I did is such a blessing. This is one way our company can show Jesus to others in need.”

Shells said there will be a banquet held for the chosen child and their family along with the sponsors at the YMCA on Dec. 16. 

“It’s amazing when you get to actually see the fruit of your labor, and see the difference it makes for these kids,” Shell said. “The real blessing of the toy drive is these local businesses coming together and is just an opportunity for the community to help. It’s a great feeling when you know that God’s working through you and that what you’re doing is right.”

The Toy Drive-Thru local business sponsors include Big Potato Company, Super Foods, Covington Credit, Walgreens, Tractor Supply, Clay Hill Veterinarian, Dr. Robert Martin Dentistry, True South, Dreamland, Credit Cent, AT&T, Walmart, Citi Trends, Marvins, Shoney’s, Hartley 6 Sports, The Re-Up, Cadence Bank, Purvis signs and Buffalo Rock Pepsi.