Operation Santa Claus reaches record goal donations

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – Many of us know how special Christmas morning is for kids, and Greenville Fire/Rescue is partnering with the Salvation Army and Inner Banks Media to help keep it that way.

Friday they set up at Great Harvest Bread Company in Greenville, collecting toys or donations of money. The money will be used to buy toys for families in Pitt County schools who need a little help.

Each of the families was picked by school social workers for a variety of reasons, some are even facing homelessness. Salvation Army representatives say 30 percent more families need help this year. In Pitt County, a total of 1,046 students were identified compared to 1,006 last year.

“It is an honor to be able to help during the holidays. The Operation Santa Claus Radiothon is our favorite event of the year,” said Henry Hinton, President of Inner Banks Media and host of the morning radio show Talk of the Town. “To be able to raise this much money in our community shows how incredibly generous our listeners are.”

Salvation Army Captain Lea Brooks said Christmas gifts might not be a necessity, but donating them allows families to focus their money on buying food and clothes instead.

“As a mom, it really hit me that with inflation there’s so much that costs a lot more than it did even just last year,” she said. “So if I have to go to the store and spend $5.00 on milk, that’s $5.00 I can’t put towards my kid’s Christmas gift, and we see a lot of that.”

The good news is the need may be up this year, but so were the donations. The total from last year was surpassed by nearly a thousand dollars, with more than $53,000 being raised for families in need.

Donation collecting was finished at 3 p.m., but there are still plenty of ways to give. Greenville Fire/Rescue will be collecting toys at all 6 of their locations until December 13th.