TAKE 5: Working miracles with toys

Nov. 23, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

This week, we Take 5 with Dusty Phillips of Broadway, who’s organizing a “Toys for Tots” program at Honda Suzuki Motorcycles of Sanford. Phillips, a Lee County native, has been involved in a number of charitable and community fundraising projects. He and his wife, Wendy, have two children and one grandchild.

How does your Toys for Tots program fit in with the traditional program the Marine Corps sponsors?

Our mission at Honda Suzuki Motorcycles of Sanford coincides with the mission of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program — and that is to collect new, unwrapped toys and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children throughout the community.

We’re doing this from our business. We are the motorcycle/four-wheeler shop in the same parking lot as Ron’s Barn on Horner Boulevard. We will also be asking people who attend the Sanford Christmas Parade or the Broadway Christmas Parade to bring a toy with them this year. We will have Marines escorting us throughout the parade route, and we ask paradegoers to hand any new, unwrapped toy to them so that they can place it in the boxes we’ll provide.

What’s your timeline?

The campaign is under way now! We have already filled a couple of boxes and been fortunate enough to collect a couple of bicycles. The campaign will last until the close of business on Dec. 17. The dates of the Christmas parades are Dec. 2 for the Sanford parade and Dec. 14 for the Broadway parade.

Why is this important to you?

During these past few years, with the economic recession, many families that thought they would never see this day find themselves struggling. What we’re doing sends a message of hope to less fortunate people within our community and lets them know people care. It puts a smile on the faces of children while lessening the burden on parents who may be suffering financially.

The holidays can be a depressing time for parents who are unable to provide a gift for their child on Christmas morning. We want to lessen the amount of families who feel that their child will not feel the joy of Christmas.

How can others help?

We are asking folks to bring any new, unwrapped toy to our store or to one of the local parades. As I mentioned before, people from our store will be coming through on our ATVs, and we will be escorted by U.S. Marines on the parade route. When you see them, just throw up your hand and hand the toy to them to place in the boxes. (We ask that paradegoers refrain from stepping out into the street due to safety concerns.)

We hope that we can start a tradition this year at our local parades by having paradegoers give back to the community. I just think that doing this will not only help the less fortunate within our community; it will teach our youths a lesson in giving back. As they see the adults within the community giving to charity, they may very well get into the habit.

You’re also asking businesses to get involved as well, correct?

I am asking businesses to step up to the plate this year. We, as retailers, turn a profit during the Christmas season, so I ask the businesses to give back a little something. There is nothing more special to a child than looking beside the Christmas tree on Christmas morning and seeing a bicycle and knowing that it is for them. You can buy a child’s bike for between $60-$100; that’s a relatively a small amount for a business. I’m asking local businesses to accept this challenge. We will store the bikes here at Honda Suzuki of Sanford and deliver them to the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve as we collect them. 

I hope to see each and every person in Lee County do something to help with this charity. I hope to shake the hand and offer a sincere “thank you” to every individual who is kindhearted enough to give to this cause. If you decide to stop by the store, please ask for me so that I can have that opportunity. And if you give along the parade route, I hope to at least be able to look you in the eye and express my gratitude.

For donations or questions, please contact me at (919) 775-3638 or email me at dusty@hsaofsanford.com.