Every year, Rocky Mount toy drive helps more children have a merry Christmas

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Toys, rows and rows of them, filled a vacant store space inside Rocky Mount's Golden East Mall. They were there for pickup Tuesday by advocates for disadvantaged children in the area, Everything available for free, including bikes, balls, even a flat-screen TV, came from generous people who donated to Joshua's Toy Drive.

Seventeen-year-old Joshua Moore told ABC11, "I'm very blessed. I want to thank the Lord for all these toys. He's blessed us to help all these kids."

As a child, Moore came up with the idea of soliciting donations of toys and other gifts many children dream of but rarely receive.

His mother, Samantha Moore, said back when he was much younger, "He would go through his toys; they were hardly ever used. They looked like new, and he wanted to donate them to somebody who could use them."

Inspiration led to action.

"It was a lot to start with. And each year, it's gotten bigger and bigger and now, all this," Joshua said, gesturing toward the room full of donated items.

Mike Harper, owner of Harper's Nursery smiled while he said, "We think a lot of Josh, and what he's doing is amazing. It really is."

Another toy drive supporter, Taylor Whitley, is a member of a church that also collected donations of toys and money for the toy drive. But Tuesday, he wasn't quite ready for the volume of donations on display.

"I was shocked. You know, when you see a picture you think of a good-sized room," Whitley said. "But then you actually see it in person, you see rows and rows of toys. With pictures, it doesn't do it justice."

Wendy Sherrod of Harper's Nursery agreed.

"It's awesome," Sherrod said. "I look at the toys and think about how many kids Josh is helping this year."

Samantha Moore said organizers deal with volunteers, most of whom know some prospective recipients.

"They'll go through, pick out what each child needs," she said. "Then they'll carry it back to the school, bundle it up, and then the parents come pick it up."
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