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Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots drive to begin Friday

SALISBURY — Beginning Friday morning while some are waiting on their coffee and doughnut orders at Krispy Kreme, a group of volunteers will be collecting new toys for local children for the holidays through the Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots program

Starting at 6 a.m. and through mid-evening Sunday, local Toys for Tots coordinator Raul “Arbe” Arbelaez, who is a retired Marine, will collect toys at the store, 1428 W. Innes St. He will have help from Salisbury Police Department volunteers and Guardian Nomad Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club members.

The volunteers are collecting new, unwrapped toys for Rowan County children in need and will also accept cash that will be used to buy gifts. Organizers expect to serve about 800 families inthe county, Arbelaez said.

“This year is a whole lot more special due to the fact one of my dearest friends, Chris Waller, was killed in a car accident, and we are dedicating it in his memory. He’s going to be terribly missed. A big absence to us,” Arbelaez said.

He said volunteers will remember Waller with a prayer and continue working through the weekend in his memory.

Last year because of rainy weather, the collection numbers were significantly lower than usual, but Arbelaez is hopeful that the community will support the drive.

The gifts benefit babies through children 12 years old. He asked that if people purchase gifts to think about giving gifts for the often-forgotten age groups, including babies and the oldest children.

The collection will begin at 6 a.m. Friday and end between 2 and 4 p.m. Sunday.

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