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Toy giveaway, lunch with Santa planned Saturday

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MICRO — Hinnant Outreach Center, an arm of Micro Original Free Will Baptist Church, will hold a toy giveaway and “hot dogs with Santa” lunch at 11 a.m. this Saturday for Micro-area children.

“This will be the eighth year we have held this event,” said Johnny Parrish, the outreach center’s director. “We usually have around 400-500 youngsters and their families who take part. Every kid usually gets a meal, a coat, some toys and a chance to talk to Santa Claus.”

“We are humbled and appreciative of all the people who have donated toys to this worthy cause,” said Charlie Young of North Carolina Farm Bureau Insurance in Smithfield, who is helping coordinate the collection of an estimated 1,300 toys this year.

United Community Bank, Capitol Auto of Smithfield and Farm Bureau Insurance in Smithfield have been the toy drive and giveaway’s primary sponsors.

“It just proves we have the best county in the state when it comes to having people participate in events like this,” said Young.

“Our church has been blessed and we can now be a blessing to others, but it is not just church members who help us with this,” said Parrish. “It takes everyone to make something like this happen and it is a true community event.”

“The toy drive and lunch with Santa event that we host is truly one of the great blessings that we have the privilege to participate in as a community,” said Duane Casey, lead pastor at Micro Original Free Will Baptist. “Speaking as one who has hands-on experience, it gives you a great feeling inside to know that you have a small part in making the holiday season just a little bit happier for children and their families.”

“The purpose of this is to build community among both the recipients and the those who volunteer their time and resources,” said Casey. “We encourage people of all backgrounds regardless of race, socioeconomic station or religious affiliation to join us, because we believe the heart of Christmas will be felt and we will all be benefactors.”

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