GREENVILLE, NC (WNCT) — Greenville Fire/Rescue was joined by the City of Greenville, Pitt County Schools, the Salvation Army, Greenville Utilities Commission and Inner Banks Media for the 34th annual Pitt County Operation Santa Claus.
Each year, the drive brings in thousands of toys for local families. It began in November and will continue until Dec. 15.
Every toy collected through Operation Santa Claus will benefit a Pitt County family. Area families apply to the Salvation Army to receive gifts. If a family’s need is determined, those families pick up their child-specific toys before Christmas.
Friday morning, IBX Media radio stations broadcast live from Great Harvest Bread Company in Greenville to promote the annual Operation Santa Claus Radiothon. From 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. live broadcasts from Greenville-area radio stations 103.7 WTIB and 107.9 WNCT that raised $53,375, setting a record and surpassing last year’s collection of $52,400.
Listeners were asked to make donations of new toys and winter coats. Monetary donations will be used to purchase Christmas gifts and toys for local families through the Salvation Army. Toys will be distributed on Dec. 15 and Operation Santa Claus will continue to collect donations through drives and events until then.
“This is our favorite day of the year, it’s amazing to see people come out and give back to the community,” IBX Media President Henry Hinton said. “We’re here today to raise money for kids and for families for Christmas that would otherwise might not have Christmas presents.”
Greenville Fire and Rescue and the Salvation Army will be collecting new unwrapped toys at Walmart Supercenter stores in Greenville from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.
On Dec. 15, collected toys will be picked up from donation points and dropped off at the warehouse behind GFR Station 6. Social workers and Pitt County School counselors will come to collect toys for students in their schools.
The Embers Christmas Show on Dec. 19 at Reimage Church will also benefit Operation Santa Claus. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the concert begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are free for children under 10 years old and $20 for adults.
Every penny from ticket sales will be used to buy toys for underprivileged children in Pitt County. Tickets are available online or at Telco Credit Union, Reimage Church and at Inner Banx Media studios.
“We at the Salvation Army get to see the need every year at this time and we are so grateful for the community coming together and supporting these efforts during the holiday season,” Pitt County Salvation Army Corps Officer Alicia Brooks said.