Chicago teen to collect toys for local children

LUMBERTON — A 13-year-old seventh-grader, known nationally for his annual Christmas Disaster Relief Toy Drive, will be collecting toys and gift cards for the children of Lumberton who were affected by flooding from Hurricane Matthew.

Robeson County commissioners will hear a presentation about the toy drive sponsored by Samuel Love, a student at Murray Language Academy in Chicago, when they meet Monday for their second regularly scheduled meeting of the month. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. in the commissioners’ room of the county administration building on North Elm Street.

Better known as Sam’ta, this is Love’s fifth annual disaster relief toy drive. In a statement announcing the drive, Love said he has partnered with Arrested Potential Inc., a nonprofit after-school tutorial computer lab program located in Lumbee Homes Public Housing, that “lost everything because of the flooding.”

“I answered their request to help make a difference for the hundreds of children who have lost everything they hold dear, and to make this holiday season memorable and spirit-filled,” he said.

According to Love, he started collecting toys in 2012 after seeing the devastation Hurricane Sandy caused in New York. The drive was a success and he appeared on CNN’s Anderson Cooper’s show, he said.

“I thought about what kids my age had to be feeling after losing everything, even their toys,” Love said. “… I collected over 200 toys my first year.”

Since then he has sponsored toy drives in Colorado, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Illinois and South Carolina.

The third year, the “Today Show” covered his drive and it was seen across the nation, according to Love.

“The reason I started this mission was that I could not think of enjoying my Christmas when there were kids who had nothing,” Love said. “… You might think that my goal is big, but lots of people have answered my call to help. Each year I have reached or gone beyond my goal, and the same will be true this year for the children of Lumberton, N.C.”

In other business, the commissioners on Monday will:

— Consider a service agreement between the county and The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

— Consider a request from the county’s zoning administrator that setback requirements for private homeowners be waived to allow them to place temporary structures to live in while they repair homes damaged by flooding from Hurricane Matthew.

— Consider and approve dates for regular meetings in 2017.

— Sit as the Robeson County Housing Authority board and consider a resolution to amend the authority’s “Admission and Continued Occupancy Policy.”

By Bob Shiles

[email protected]

Bob Shiles can be reached at 910-416-5165.

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