The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

November 15, 2012

Santa, Mrs. Claus visiting Military Museum from 1-3 pm Saturday

Staff Writer

TARBORO — Santa Claus is coming to town and will be at the Edgecombe County Veterans Military Museum from 1-3 p.m. Saturday.

“He is arriving in Tarboro on his way to the North Pole,” said Carol Banks. “Mrs. Claus will be with him.”

Admission to see Santa and Mrs. Claus is free, but visitors are asked to bring a new, unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots, a charitable program spearheaded by the Marine Corps League and supported by the museum.

“When they bring the unwrapped toy, they’re keeping the tradition [of Santa Claus] alive. If it dies, so do the children’s dreams,” said Moonie Sloan, associate member of the Marine Corps League. The veterans museum collects donations for Toys for Tots every year, but this is the first time the museum has hosted the meet-and-greet with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

“I think it can be used a teaching tool for the kids,” said Gerrelene Walker. “It will help show them how to share and give to those who are not as fortunate as they are.”

Walker said she and Bobby O’Neal are looking forward to bringing smiles to the faces of adults and children alike, in the roles of Mrs. Claus and Santa. Parents are welcome to bring a camera and take pictures of their children sharing their Christmas wishes with Santa.

Prior to Santa Claus’ visit, children will have a chance to make Christmas ornaments at the Blount-Bridgers House and take them home to hang on their own tree. The children’s event will begin at 10 a.m. and end at 1 p.m. Jacob Turner, son of Joyce Turner, executive director of the Edgecombe County Cultural Arts Council, will present a magic show from 10:30 a.m. until 11 a.m. and cookies and punch will be served.

Saturday’s event is in conjunction with the final weekend of the Great Tarboro Art Bazaar at the Blount-Bridgers House.

“It’s a chance for people who weren’t able to make it out here [for the Art Bazaar] who have kids to get into the Christmas spirit,” Turner said. Proceeds from the bazaar will go to the artists and the Arts Council for programming.

The Blount-Bridgers House is at 130 Bridgers St. The veteransmuseum is at 106 West Church St.

Edgecombe County residents will also have an opportunity to help children in need this Christmas as Toys for Tots will hold a four-person charity golf tournament at the Links at Cotton Valley on Saturday, Dec. 1.

The tournament will begin with a 10 a.m. shotgun start. Participants should be at the club 30 minutes before the start for a flag-raising ceremony.

Hole-in-one prizes will be awarded and all players are asked to bring a new, unwrapped toy for donation.

“We raised $4,000 last year with toys and everything,” Sloan said. “People weren’t bringing one toy. They were bringing bags of toys.”

The entry fee is $200 per four-person team. The fee includes breakfast and lunch. Sloan said she looks forward to once again experiencing the “camaraderie and the toys and the laughter” of last year’s tournament.

“If we all pitch in a $5 toy unwrapped, that assures that we can take care of our kids in Edgecombe County and Nash County,” she said. “It’s the spirit of Christmas. It’s putting a smile on the face of a child. It’s knowing that there’s going to a be a child somewhere on Christmas morning opening two packages.”

The Department of Social Services (DSS) identifies the children in need of help for Toys for Tots, Sloan said. The DSS screens the families to ensure that services are not duplicated by other agencies.

Sloan, who has been involved in the organization for 10 years, was selected Woman of the Year for the National Marine Corps League last year for her work with Toys for Tots. “I do it for the love of children,” she said.

A soldier returning home from World War II in 1947 founded Toys for Tots. Today, men and women in the Marine Corps League work to make sure the toys are delivered to children around the world in time for Christmas. Sloan calls them “Secret Santas.”

For more information about the golf tournament, pick up an application at the golf course at 2681 U.S. Highway 258 South, call the golf course at 824-0818 or call Moonie Sloan at 813-2742.