Salem toy and coat drives currently underway

Last year, Santa gave out hundreds of toys to local children during the Marine Toys 4 Tots Drive. PHOTO BY SHAWN NOWLIN

John Morrow lives his life by one of Dr. Martin Luther King’s most prominent quotes: “Life’s persistent and most urgent question is ‘What are you doing for others?’”

It is impossible to pinpoint the exact number, but Morrow conservatively estimates that he has volunteered roughly 2,250 hours towards holiday toy, coat and food drives over his lifetime. “I know what it’s like to grow up without getting a single gift during the holidays. I also know that there are local families that can relate,” Morrow, a Roanoke County native, said. “Not only does giving back to the less fortunate make you feel good, but it also gives other people hope. I try to volunteer my time to as many holiday community events as I can.” Currently, there are multiple holiday drives happening locally. Ironheart Evolution Studios at 1539 Apperson Drive in Salem is holding its Toys for Tattoos Drive until Saturday, December 15. Interested individuals can drop off any new toy between 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.

“The tattoo industry for years has had a reputation of being rebels with a criminal mindset. We want to change that at Ironheart. We promote creative thinking and philanthropy,” employee Stephanie Wyatt said. “Every holiday season for the last three years, we’ve held this toy drive. Interested individuals can bring any unopened toy up to $100, and we will double their amount of tattoo credit. All appointments are scheduled after the first of the year and never expire.” When asked what he enjoys most about the Marine Toys 4 Tots Drive, Sergeant Irving Alvarez said, “Because it provides a tangible sign of hope to economically disadvantaged children at Christmas.”

Added the Sergeant: “Toys 4 Tots is an organization for spreading hope to children around this time of the year. We are currently accepting toys as well as cash donations. People can visit our Toys 4 Tots Facebook page or our roanoke-va.toysfortots.org website for more information.” Since 2013, Salem’s Chick-fi l-A Restaurant has held a coat and toy drive in the winter. Every coat donated is given to Ms. Dorsey’s Clothes Closet at 825 S Colorado Street in Salem. Th e open house for Th e Community Christmas Store is Th ursday, December 6, at 7 p.m. beside the Dollar Tree in Spartan Square. “At Chick-fi l-A Salem, we believe it’s our calling to support our community in numerous ways. We have very generous guests who make the coat drive and toy drive a success every year,” Community Director Vanessa Miles said.

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