Spirit of the Season

2017

Goldsboro News-Argus - Spirit of the Season

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By ETHAN SMITH esmith@newsargus.com Kayden Green totes around a toy nearly his own size in Goldsboro High School's library Saturday morning. The 3-year-old has just picked out a C-3PO replica from Star Wars. His smile is even big- ger than the toy, stretching from ear-to- ear as he looks over the toy's parts while the bottom of the package tap-tap-taps off his feet as he walks. His mother, Angela Bennett, has her boy's joy reflected in her own smile. Bennett wasn't sure what she would do for Christmas this year. For the first time in 20 years, she finds her- self starting from scratch and trying to build a life all over again on her own with her son and her daugh- ter, 9-year-old Jaelyn Holmes, by her side. "We just moved into low-income housing again," Bennett said. "It's been really tough, I didn't know what I was going to do." But her worries were quelled at the 105th Empty Stocking Fund event at Goldsboro High School. Nobody was on Santa's naughty list as the party got underway with A Drummer's World drum line. Tired, sleepy eyes — being out in the cold rain before 9 a.m. on a weekend can be daunt- ing — quickly turned to bright gazes flashing from snare to tom to bass drum as the crew lit up the crowd with an explosive perform- ance to kick off the day. Bennett's children were among about 450 students who zipped through the school's library to choose a toy to take home, with the selection ranging from dolls, to art kits, to action figures to Nerf guns and more. Nardaron Cox, 10, recently flew his drone into a tree. Cox said he loves fly- ing them and watching the way they float and bob and zip across the sky, and was not happy when his last drone got stuck in a tree. But no matter. The miracle-makers of the North Pole were on hand to provide him with another, as Cox took home a brand new drone to fly around — and away from trees. His brother, Nadare- on, 9, picked out a red sports car toy. After the children were guided through the labyrinth of toys by volunteers from the Spring Creek Future Farmers of America and Eastern Wayne High School's National Honor Society, they got to take a picture with Santa and Mrs. Claus and take home a print out of the photo for their parents and guardians. The children who came Saturday were also gifted clothes pur- chased from JCPenney and Belk, and took home goodie bags curated and put togeth- er by Bobby Braswell's family, who provided the fruit and other treats for the bag. Wayne County teach- ers selected the stu- dents who received hol- iday cheer in the form of clothes, toys and other goodies. The News-Argus asked for the communi- ty to help the children in need, and the com- munity responded with overwhelming amounts of donations that made the event possible. Families filled the auditorium of Golds- boro High School from wall to wall as they waited to be called back to receive their gifts and enjoyed a morning packed full of enter- tainment. The event was emceed by News-Argus editor John Joyce, who introduced each act. After A Drummer's World drum line, a dance group from Stu- dio 33 graced the stage with a series of per- formances. The News-Argus' own Crystal Bizzell took the stage and sang "Hallelujah" before leading children and the crowd in singing a number of Christmas carols. The Tiger Command Chorus, Dillard Middle School's choral group, went on stage and per- formed before jazz musician Eric Dawson, known to many locally from the former PNC Jazz Showcase's sever- al years of downtown Goldsboro performanc- es rounded out the morning's entertain- ment. Also on hand were members of the Golds- boro Fired Department and Goldsboro Police Department Explorer posts and some from Girl Scout Troop 4397, based out of Goldsboro. Miss Goldsboro 2018, Bailey Stamper shared a few words of welcome and then stuck around for photos with the children inside Santa's workshop in the GHS media center. The day was the result of a combined community effort to give children in Golds- boro the Christmas that every child deserves, but not every child is fortunate enough to have. 2 — Goldsboro News-Argus Sunday, December 24, 2017 11DAG1217© Jackson and Sons Heating and Air • 919.734.9611 • www.jacksonandsons.com most important part of The Christmas is the first six letters. Wishing You and Your Family a Merry Christmas! Amid the hustle & bustle of the holidays, May you find time to pause, to reflect... and to rejoice in the true meaning of Christmas. RAPER DISCOUNT DRUGS HEALTH & WELLNESS CENTER www.raperdiscountdrugs.com 89DCT1217J© 2303 Wayne Memorial Dr, Goldsboro 919.734.0741 Merry Christmas! Serving Wayne County for over 50 Years Goldsboro's Leading Natural Medicine Pharmacy News-Argus/CASEY MOZINGO Santa and Mrs. Claus visit with two boys at the annual Empty Stocking Fund party. Empty Stocking Fund helps give local families a merry Christmas News-Argus/CASEY MOZINGO A girl picks out a toy at the Empty Stocking Fund party. News-Argus/CASEY MOZINGO A girl is excited about the toy she chose at the Empty Stocking Fund party. 'We just moved into low-income housing again. It's been really tough, I didn't know what I was going to do.' ANGELA BENNETT on how the Empty Stocking Fund Party helped her family have Christmas this year. By STEVE HERRING sherring@newsargus.com It was cold, very cold. Despite temperatures hovering near freezing, Julie Whitfield and Shiril Jackson were warmed by their excite- ment of being able to help others keep warm. By 7:15 a.m. Dec. 11, the two women, who work in the Wayne County Clerk of Court office, were tying scarves on trees and poles surrounding the Wayne County Court- house complex. Each scarf had a note attached, "Please take me. I am not lost. Merry Christmas and use this to help stay warm." "We included the entire clerk's office and some of the people in the clerk's office donat- ed scarves as well," Whitfield said. "Shiril and I just took it on ourselves to put them out." It didn't take long for someone to ask about a scarf. "We already had a lady pick up one," Whit- field said. "She asked if she could have one. She said she was looking for a scarf and coat for her daughter. So we gave her a scarf. "I got the idea off of Facebook, actually. I saw where someone else in another town had done the same thing. We have put out about 22 scarves this morning. I had some myself. Shiril had some and then Mrs. Pam (Minshew, clerk of court) donated and other people donated as well." Whitfield has been planning the project for a couple of weeks. Originally, she wanted to place the scarves Dec. 8, but waited until ■ Participants got toys, clothes, goodie bags and a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Scarves warm those who are cold ■ Clerk of Court workers tie scarves to poles for anyone to take to keep warm. See SCARVES, Page 3

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