PEELER: Pack Collecting Again for Toys for Tots
BY TIM PEELER
RALEIGH, N.C. – Jeraill McCuller won't ever forget his experiences playing football on Saturday afternoons at NC State. But there are other things he'll remember as well.
Like the time two years ago that he went on a holiday shopping spree with his teammates to buy presents for kids who might not otherwise receive anything. It was the first year of NC State's partnership with Toys for Tots, the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve's project to provide toys for families in need.
"I knew it was going to be a blessing to some kids," McCuller said. "It's a blessing just to be a part of it. I am going to remember that for the rest of my life, just like I remember playing [football] on Saturdays."
NC State developed a partnership with Toys for Tots shortly after Tom O'Brien, a member of the national board of directors for the organization, was hired as the Wolfpack's head coach. In each of his three seasons, toys and cash have been collected for the local chapter to distribute toys throughout the Triangle during the holiday season.
Saturday, NC State and Clemson fans are asked to bring new, unwrapped toys and cash donations to a special collection area at FanZone, between Carter-Finley Stadium and the RBC Center. Volunteers will be on hand beginning at 9 a.m. to accept all donations. Cash donations will also be collected at each of the Carter-Finley entry gates. For more information, click here.
"We hope to outdo the collections we had last year," said O'Brien. "And we hope the fans coming from Clemson will help us the way the fans from Wake Forest did last year in collecting toys."
Lt. Gen. Pete Osman, president and CEO of the Toys for Tots Foundation, will be on hand for the game and to participate in the pregame coin flip.
Last year, in a similar promotion, the Wolfpack raised more than $32,000 and collected more than 4,000 toys in a season-long campaign with corporate partners Coca-Cola and Harris Teeter. Coke donates $500 for every touchdown the Wolfpack scores during the season, while Harris Teeter has special collection bins set up in most of its Triangle locations.
Last year, a portion of the raised cash was used to fund a shopping spree at the Walmart in Garner, where a dozen Wolfpack football players went on an hour-long shopping spree to buy a truckload of toys for children in need. McCuller wasn't able to participate in last year's frenzy, but he joined teammates Dajuan Morgan, Anthony Hill, Willie Young and others for the inaugural event two years ago. He plans on doing it again this year, if his schedule allows.
"I remember being a little disappointed, because they had all the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle toys, which used to be my favorite," McCuller said. "I wanted to play with them myself, but I couldn't. I was thinking, thought, 'This is going to make some little kid happy.'"
You may contact Tim Peeler at email@example.com.