SALEMBURG — Inside the Lakewood Country Club, Curt and Lynn Pritchard smiled as they observed a collection of toys near a brightly decorated Christmas Tree. On Christmas morning, foster children throughout Sampson County will be smiling with joy too.
On the club’s golf course, players earn victories after perfecting their swings and putts. But during a Saturday toy drive party, Curt said the children throughout Sampson County were the real winners for the project called “Holiday Hope.”
“The kids in Sampson County won 100 percent tonight,” said Curt, Lakewood’s golf pro about the support. “The Lakewood Country Club and the Sampson County community were 100 percent behind this project and it was just amazing. Thank you to everyone who were concerned about these children having a better Christmas.”
For the event initiated by his wife Lynn, the public was asked to bring an unwrapped gift to the Lakewood Country Club for distribution through Sampson County’s Department of Social Services (DSS).
“It’s something that I’ve wanted to do for awhile,” Lynn said. “I was able to put it together this year and make my dream come true.”
Lynn wondered how many people would show up to deliver presents. At dusk, they received more than 300 and the gifts kept rolling in for children of all ages. Donations were collected from Friday, Nov. 27 through Saturday, Dec. 5. Curt said the event was made possible through the support of Piggly Wiggly, Food Lion, Subway and others who contributed to the event.
After the event, the unwrapped gifts were collected by DSS and will be distributed to needy children through its Christmas Cheer Program. The organizers were told Sampson County has more than 100 foster children living in the area.
“So what we wanted to do is make sure all of those children were taken care of and anybody else who may have signed up,” Lynn said.
Coming from Brunswick County, Lynn conducted toy drives for more than a decade. It started small, but it eventually became bigger. She hopes the results are the same in Sampson County.
“I’m very excited that I was able to put this event together,” Lynn said about helping local children. “I wish I could see every little face Christmas morning. I hope that the children in Sampson County have a fantastic Christmas.”
Curt said it was his wife dreams to see it happen. He also added that it’s not a “one and done” thing.
“It’s going to be a yearly tradition going forward,” he said.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.