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INDIAN LAND – The spirit of Christmas is alive and well in area neighborhoods.
Legacy Park and BridgeMill in Indian Land hosted holiday parties and collected gifts for Toys for Tots on Dec. 6.
Legacy Park’s Breakfast with Santa attendees donated 109 new, unwrapped toys for the Marine Corps Reserve’s annual toy drive. BridgeMill’s afternoon event added another 79. Both increased their donations from last year.
“Christmas is one of those times of year that you recognize and see people in need, particularly children,” said Mary Pelfrey, who helped organize BridgeMill’s party. “It’s important to give back to the community, particularly this year when many can’t afford to keep a home, much less have a nice holiday.”
Roger Rape of the Lancaster Leathernecks, a Marine Corps League detachment, led the collection drive. He and other retired Marines attended the events to thank residents for their donations.
Rape said the toys will be given to Lancaster County children who are referred to the group or through Christian Services or Operation Rudolph.
He said requests are very high this year, due to job losses and the sluggish economy. But donations are up some, too, with people willing to do with less so others can have something.
Legacy Park has hosted a similar event for several years, including a waffle breakfast, crafts and pictures with Santa.
This year, retired Marine Wayne “Hoss” Knight filled in for Santa.
Pelfrey said nearly 200 BridgeMill residents attended their event with singing, crafts, refreshments and a visit from Santa.
She said the neighborhood has hosted similar events for the past few years, but this was the first year there were Toys for Tots representatives on hand.
Pelfrey said the holiday events and others throughout the year are great for getting to know new neighbors and seeing old friends in addition to helping others.
BridgeMill’s social committee includes a representative who plans charitable giving events. For example, attendees to the community’s Bunco dice game in November brought items for an area battered women’s shelter.
Future events include collecting food pantry items in January.
Rape said the Belair neighborhood is planning a similar Toys for Tots event later this month.
Other residents who want to help Toys for Tots can leave their gifts in the drop box at CVS pharmacy in Carolina Commons through Dec. 19.