What started as a small work of charity in Illinois has spread to North Carolina, and in the process, grown into a large event every December.
Some years ago, the late Gerald E. Moyer, grandfather of Faith Christian junior varsity basketball coach Tyler Hendricks, began fixing broken toys with fellow Marines. The group distributed the toys to children in need of gifts for Christmas.
When Moyer moved to North Carolina, he began doing the same. He passed away before the event now known as Toys for Tots reached Faith Christian and become the school’s signature Christmas event.
“We kind of pushed it in honor of him,” Hendricks said of Moyer. “He would love to be here and see what we are doing and be a part of it.”
Tonight’s event, which is the fifth year for Toys for Tots at Faith Christian, will begin at 4 p.m. with the girls’ junior varsity game and will run through the boys’ varsity game at 7:30 p.m.
Admission to the game is free with a new, unwrapped toy. Faith Christian’s opponent, Belhaven Pungo, also is bringing toys to add to the collection.
“We’ll have a packed house,” Hendricks said. “We have people come, who don’t usually watch basketball, come and support us.”
Faith Christian filled between 15-18 boxes of toys last year, making it Toys for Tots’ largest single-event donation site in a region that includes Pitt, Halifax, Edgecombe and Wilson Counties.
After the toys are collected tonight, the Patriots’ junior varsity team girls’ basketball team will meet with the local Marine Corps League on Saturday to sort the gifts for distribution.