WITN is proud to support the Toys for Tots campaign each December. It's a lot of fun for us at the studio to see the toys start to pile up into little hills of happiness for kids on Christmas morning. We also love getting to meet the many generous people who come with gifts for kids they will never meet. Occasionally, people come armed with more than just toys; they come with stories of inspiration of why they were moved to make a donation.
Ollie Black came to the Greenville Studio with two toys and with a story about her daughter, Allison.
This is Allison's toy story.
Allison Fagley is 47 years old, and she ran a day care in Hatteras for 20 years. She had to leave the day care and move to Greenville, because she can't be alone. Allison has brain cancer, and her mother says, she is dying.
Ollie says when her children were young, she allowed them to bring home any animals they wanted, but there was one rule: once they nursed the animal to health, they had to set them free. Ollie says they had all sort of animals running around their property, including a pigeon at one point. Allison nursed the pigeon, but as with all the creatures, the time came to set the bird free. Ollie says the pigeon didn't go far, staying by the family's home for two weeks, much to the delight of the children. It's a memory the family still smiles about, all these years later.
Allison used the lessons her mother taught her in running her day care, Friendship Bridge. She did the best she could to care for the children there, but there inevitably came a time to set them free, and send them on to elementary school. One of the ways she helped care for her kids was to teach them to care for others through Toys for Tots.
Each year, the day care would hold a bake sale to raise money for Toys for Tots. Allison would take the money and the kids to Norfolk, where they would shop for toys until every penny was spent. Then the toys would all be donated to Toys for Tots.
Ollie told us the day care still held a bake sale this year to raise money for Toys for Tots, helping continue Allison's toy story, though Allison is too sick to even walk anymore. The doctors have done all they can, Ollie says, but they can't nurse Allison back to health. The time will come where her family will have to let her go. Yet because of Allison, countless kids in Eastern Carolina have the memories of waking up to toys on Christmas morning, thanks to a woman they will never meet. This year, a little girl will unwrap a pink play toaster. A little boy will unwrap a set of three trucks. Allison's toy story will continue with the many little boys and girls she cared for at Friendship Bridge over two decades. No doubt some of them will bring the kindness to their community that Allison brought to their young, impressionable lives. Allison's toy story will live on.