Saturday, December 21, 2013

Businesses, charities spread holiday cheer

BETHANY BEACH - For many businesses and organizations along the coast, they'd rather give back to their communities than be a Scrooge.

This year, charities such as Toys for Tots and the Delaware animated christmas card Cancer Coalition are reporting generous gifts from businesses and their customers.

"The response from the community has been outstanding," said Jack Carey, the Toys for Tots coordinator for the First State Detachment of the Marine Corps League in Ocean View.

Deliveries have increased each year and this holiday, his division will donate toys to 3,600 children, he said. At Long & Foster Vacation Rentals in Bethany Beach, the Marines have emptied the drop-off box for toys three times since the season began. Joy Griffith, an administrative assistant at Long & Foster, said the toy drive reminds residents of their neighbors in need.

"People don't realize there are poverty-stricken families right here around us," she said. "The beach is looked at as a wealthy area, but they don't realize what's in their backyard."

Both Griffith and Kerry agreed donations for toddlers and younger children have been strong, but there are often not enough toys for infants or children over the age of 10. They suggested donors drop off games for older kids or monetary donations, which Toys for Tots can use to fill in the gaps. Though the toy drive ended Friday, the organization will also hold a fundraiser at The Cove Bar and Grill in Fenwick Island today.

"Cash donations help out tremendously," Kerry said. "The easiest way to donate is online."

Customers have been just as eager to buy for charity organizations as they have for themselves this season. Shoppers began calling Tanger Outlets in Rehoboth Beach long before Black Friday to ask when stores would bring out their "Pink Trees for Hope." Together with the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, the outlets have displayed Christmas trees with the wish lists of families affected by breast cancer. Customers can buy a gift from the trees that will go to nine families throughout Delaware, including four in Sussex.

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