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Wendell Wonderland: An opportunity to give back

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WENDELL — The town of Wendell is hosting its Wendell Wonderland theme to support the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. This year’s theme, Elves in Toyland, involves accepting holiday gift donations for less fortunate children in the U.S.

Wendell Wonderland will have four donation boxes available on Friday, Dec. 6 during this event from 5-9 p.m. in downtown Wendell. The community can drop off new, unwrapped toys for children up to the age of 12.

Wendell Wonderland is in its fourth year and will have many holiday events, including the Lake Myra Lights Show, trolley rides, a cookie walk, food trucks, a holiday market, live music and dance performances, Santa and Mrs. Claus, a tree lighting ceremony, Christmas Cantata, barbecue wing giveaway and snow in town square. In previous years, Wendell Wonderland has seen an attendance of 3,500 people. With this year’s giving back initiative, the town hopes to help meet Toys for Tots’ goal for donations.

“Last year, we had 50,000 toys donated for 35,000 children,” said Sgt. Karos Reinhold of the U.S. Marines. “This year, we hope to receive 80,000 toys to distribute to 40,000 children in Wake, Durham, Johnston, Granville, Vance and Franklin counties.”

Visitors of Wendell Wonderland can purchase toys for donation at the holiday market, which will have several toy vendors. Everyone that donates a toy will receive a Token of Appreciation to be used at local businesses the night of the event for a thank-you gift, an Oaklee Distilling Company Christmas ornament or bar towel, and $1-off a regular scoop of ice cream at the Wendell General Store.

“Every child deserves a gift at Christmas,” said Town Clerk Megan Howard, “and Christmas is about helping those in need and giving back. We wanted this year’s event to focus on the spirit of giving.”

The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation coordinates with local social welfare agencies, church groups, and other local community agencies to distribute toys — with 566 million toys distributed to date. The primary goal of Marine Toys for Tots is, through the gift of a new toy, to help bring the joy of the holidays and send a message of hope to America’s less fortunate children.

For more information, contact Howard at 919-366-6894 or at mhoward@townofwendell.com.

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