Toys for Tots donation drive continues at Krispy Kreme through the weekend

Published 12:11 am Saturday, December 3, 2016

By Shavonne Walker

SALISBURY — Bob Burton slowly drove into the entrance of Krispy Kreme with his wife Diane riding in the passenger seat. The Salisbury couple were all smiles as they handed over two new toys — a Tommy the Turtle bead runner and a remote Thomas the Tank Engine.

The gifts will be given to a local child this Christmas through Toys for Tots, a program run by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. Local coordinators Arbe and Ann Arbelaez have worked to collect toys all year long, this weekend’s donation drive is expected to bring in a lot more toys for the children.

“It’s for the kids,” Bob said as to why they give each year.

“Every kid needs something,” Diane added.

The decision to buy a toy for a child is easy for the couple, Diane said others should think what “if you have a child who gets something for Christmas, think about a child who doesn’t.”

Toys for Tots supporters — longtime law enforcement officer Mark Shue, retired police officer Alan Waller, his son Chris Waller, who is a firearms instructor and others will stay on the roof through Sunday accepting toys at the doughnut shop.

Krispy Kreme will stay open all night and morning while the men camp out.

Arbe is one of the longest serving coordinators in the area with 15 years collecting and distributing toys to local children. He and many of the supporters have been camping on the roof for about nine years.

When he began in 2001, there were helping an average of 800 to 3,000 children. Since 2001, the local Toys for Tots program has provided 2.5 million toys for 250,000 to 500,000 children.

Shue recalled the first year he volunteered as a Salisbury Police officer. He was working on his own toy drive community project, but didn’t know how to go about distributing them. He was connected with Arbelaez through then Police Chief Mark Wilhelm.

Shue has been volunteering on and off throughout the years.

Chris Waller, owner of Voodoo Custom Weapons, has been volunteering to help collect toys for about seven years now. When Arbe contacted him this year to say they needed some extra hands, he recruited some others including friend Chris Graham, owner of Race Engineering.

It’s the first year that Graham participated.

“We always support as many local charities as we can,” Graham said.

Volunteers will be on the roof until Sunday around 3 p.m. collecting toys for children ages zero to 12.

Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.