Tips for Tots fundraiser hopes to buy more than $16,000 worth of toys for kids

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Greene Turtle Sports Bar and Grille’s Tips for Tots is a fundraiser that aims to buy as many toys for children as possible for this Christmas.

As the name suggests, the restaurant collects the tips from servers and pools that together to buy toys for children but there is more to it than that.

The general manager Kerri Campbell said this is their fifth year running the fundraiser, having started since they opened. She said that people are welcome to donate directly if they do not feel like dining in or getting carryout.

They even have a sale of baked goods in the restaurant, to help raise as much money as possible. All of the money, Campbell said, goes to buying toys. In the last two years, she said they have raised a little more than $16,000 each time and that she hopes to surpass that this year.

A look at baked goods for sale.

“You don’t want any child unhappy on Christmas,” Campbell said. “More importantly with the economy the way it is today, it’s affecting a lot more children and families than it has in the past, so this is our way of giving back. Thanks to our wonderful employees, fantastic guests in the past four years alone we have raised over $47,000 to buy toys for kids.”

Customers and employees Campbell said are fantastic because of how responsive they are to the fundraiser and the fact that they look forward to it every year. A large group even travels from Greene County Pennsylvania, who she said are some of their largest donors. Plus she said that before they even opened the restaurant on Wednesday Longview Power had ordered a lot of food, tipping $300.

The fundraiser started, when two servers, who worked at The Greene Turtle in Maryland, pooled their tips to buy toys just out of the kindness of their hearts Campbell said. They raised around $700 in the first year and then after that Green Turtle Corporation as a whole thought it was a fantastic idea and it has blossomed since.

Campbell said as a company they’ve raised more than $500,000 and that this year the company is hoping to raise $100,000 within the stores. The restaurants work in conjunction with Toys for Tots, which is run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve. Campbell said they will be collecting until the end of day Thursday, December 12 and then they will go shopping for toys.

“Friday morning we’ll have customers and staff alike, we all meet at Walmart first thing in the morning around 7 a.m.,” Campbell said. “They treat us extremely well with coffee and donuts and we’ll spend all the money we have to buy toys. Locally, we have Stepping Stones that benefits from it, as well as Salvation Army, Christian Help, United Way and this year we’re very pleased and excited to include the Pantry Plus More program into it, that way the outreach is a lot further.”

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