Christmas Eve service at the First Baptist Church of Ford City was tradition. I would always ride from there to pap’s after the service with Uncle Eric and his girlfriend at the time. We had a spread of cold cuts, fried chicken and veggies waiting for us. It was almost torture. I had to wait until everyone arrived and had eaten before the meticulous wrapping was destroyed. I was the only kid present since my cousins lived hours away and showed up a few days after Christmas. The other guests were distant relatives, second and third cousins, the preacher, his family and dogs running everywhere.
When I see the gifts that many of today’s children get like gaming systems, phones, huge gift cards, etc., I was a pauper. But I never wanted for anything. I have great memories of some of the toys I received like the dozens of G.I. Joe action figures over the years. My lazer gear provided great fun when friends came to visit and I’m pretty sure it comprised at least two Halloween costumes.
Regardless of the presents, what I remember is watching through the kitchen at pap’s, rounding the kitchen table and seeing the presents under the decorated Christmas Tree. I imagine those watching me walk in saw my eyes as big as saucers.
That feeling is precisely why the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves Toys for Tots Foundation exists, to provide presents for children of families that have had a rough go of it this year. These hardened Leathernecks are sure softies. They have been doing it for years and they have a passion for this project.
Retired Col. Ken Glasson has been hosting the Toys for Tots Gala for 13 years. As it continues to grow every year, this gala is one of the best events in Charleston hands down. Glasson, recently retired from 32 years of active duty, is a business owner in Mount Pleasant and I sat in on the planning meetings of this year’s gala, his passion was evident.
So what is this gala on Saturday December 7, 2013, all about?
Well for just $25 and a recommended new unwrapped toy, it is open bar and food, all donated. Upon entry guests are greeted by Citadel Cadets and Miss South Carolina Pageant winners. Honestly, walking into this event, seeing the gowns and then the tree with the presents under it will take you back to your childhood, guaranteed. There is a silent auction with many great items and services (who wants some team building?) and dancing off those Thanksgiving pies to the live band. Another great aspect of this gala is that the crowd is as varied as Charleston herself. It is pure fun.
Oh and to make the support of the Toys for Tots even greater, this is also the night when weatherman Rob Fowler delivers Papa John’s pizzas and they match any tips he receives. Last year he was tipped $2,500! The goal this year is $10,000. Can you imagine how many children can get presents with $20,000?
Attendance is limited, so purchase your tickets TODAY as the food and drinks will be based on the pre-sales. Get them at www.ToysForTotsSC.com
I look forward to seeing you there. If you can’t make it, please consider finding a way improve the Christmas of just one child.
When: Sat. Dec. 7, 2013
Mt. Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park
Cooper River Room
99 Harry Hallman, Jr. Blvd.
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464