Once again, all three Carson Physical Therapy locations will be collecting toys for local children for Christmas through Dec. 17.
"The feeling of Christmas that it puts in your heart is incredible," said Owner Adam Carson. "We want to give back. We want to help our community. We want to be involved."
Carson has three locations, located at 1221 B. Highway 35 N. in Benton, 3241 Main St. Suite 3, in Bryant, and 20800 Arch St. Pike, in East End. All three will have trees set up to collect the new unwrapped gifts for kindergarten through fourthgraders.
The drive needs a range for all the ages, not only the younger students. Carson said he knows toys for younger children are cute, but he wants to be able to give to the older ages as well. He suggested balls, board games, Littlest Pet Shop and items for girls to do their nails.
Carson plans to take the toys collected to a local elementary school where the counselor knows which kids are in need. If any of the toys are left over, the counselor distributes them to other elementary schools in Saline County. He said all the gifts will remain local.
Carson believes it is important for children to be able to receive new toys for Christmas.
"New gifts and toys trigger something in the brain — happiness, a smile. They create memories. Those toys from when you were little shape your life a bit," he said.
Since Carson began his businesses, he has tried to build a culture and community among the employees and clients.
The drive also provides a place to donate for those who want to give back.
Carson estimated that last year's toy drive brought in around 300 items.
He asks that the bar codes on all gifts be marked out with a sharpie to prevent parents returning toys for money.
As part of the collection celebration, Carson holds a potluck at his Bryant office for staff, friends, current and former patients and the community. This year's potluck will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday.
He believes the potluck is a great way to get people in the Christmas spirit.
Donors don't have to attend the potluck to donate gifts. They can drop them off by any of the three locations during business hours any day.