Toys arrive in dump trucks for children
See a gallery of photos here. – – – By Nathan Hardin
Children flooded out of their homes Thursday morning as dump trucks, filled with presents, rolled into their neighborhoods and volunteers quickly found that they could not hand out the toys fast enough.
The second honorary annual toy drive by Sloan Lake Community Church ended when more than $25,000 in donated toys were distributed to the local community.
The event is in memory of Samuel Wyatt Burleyson, son of Jeff Burleyson, who died in 2004 from a rare heart defect.
All in all, it took six dump trucks and 40 volunteers to move and distribute the mass amount of toys. The Christmas army broke up into separate squadrons and hit neighborhoods in sections of Rowan and Cabarrus counties.
Although the event is headed by Sloan Lake Community Church, located just off Old Concord Road in China Grove, it relies heavily on donations and support from private companies and the Community Enrichment Charity of the Carolinas (CECC) Foundation.
Jon Lynch, nephew of LC Lynch who was an integral figure in the project, explained that this year’s event was very different from the initial toy drive last year.
“We have more toys, more people helping, and we’re going more places. Last year we had three trucks (hauling presents) and this year we have six,” Jon Lynch said.
And the toy drive truly is going places with more than triple the donations of last year and amounts increasing from $7,000 to over $25,000, the drive looks to be a permanent fixture in the church’s Christmas schedule.
“It turned out real good this year. A lot of people have really helped,” Dr. Zachary Sizemore said.
Children received everything from books to bicycles, with parents looking on with joy as their children tried out their new toys. Several parents even shook hands and thanked the volunteers for their gifts.
The church also hosted a dinner for 15 families at the church for Christmas Eve.