Grassroots toy drive to help Oak Ridge area children

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OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (WVLT) - At least ten Oak Ridge area families are receiving a special invitation to a Christmas party complete with toys for the children, because of a grassroots effort by a local contractor.

Tony Scott said neighbors tell him of many people in need, but he vets them to try helping those in the most extreme situations. He thinks many of the working poor or even those receiving some public assistance are barely getting by. "I try to pick the single mom that's really having a tough time," said Scott. "One of my recipients had a house fire in July, lost everything...I try to pick the people who are really down and out."

In the past, Scott has delivered gifts to individual homes. He says he's looking forward to helping families in one central location this year. The Crab Bucket will be hosting the party on the weekend right before Christmas, with pizza donated from Little Nicky's New York Pizza and other donations by or collected at small businesses in the Oak Ridge area.

Amanda Jenkins said she is grateful for the help Scott is offering her family and others. She said she recently lost her job at a fast food restaurant. She is hopeful that both her son and daughter will have some kind of Christmas present this year, despite her financial situation. "He's a great guy," said Jenkins.

Owner Ashley Chase of the Crab Bucket said, "We're going to open it up and have the space so they can come in, be warm and enjoy Santa and getting their gifts and some food."

Owner Nick Haddad of Little Nicky's New York Pizza plans on donating several pizzas for the Christmas party, "because I live in the area. The community supports us, so I want to support them."

"If I can bring one day of happiness for them, it makes my heart feel good," said Scott.

Drop-off locations for new, unwrapped toys:
Little Nicky's New York Pizza at 8917 Oak Ridge Highway
Ole Ben Franklin Motors at 480 S. Illinois Avenue
Salon FX at 103 Jefferson Avenue
Jefferson Barber & Style Shop at 26 N. Jefferson Circle
Martin Funeral Home at 1017 Oak Ridge Turnpike
Crab Bucket at 299 Oak Ridge Turnpike
Tony's place at 122 South Purdue