Residents come through for McDougald Terrace kids

Dec. 21, 2013 @ 08:10 PM

Durham residents came through for the McDougald Terrace toy giveaway Saturday, dropping off several more donations in time for the event Saturday afternoon.
As of Thursday, Felicia Quinn, president of the resident council of the large public housing complex, said they were still 80 toys short.
Resident volunteers spent hours Saturday morning and early afternoon setting up the event where each child from infants on up to age 10 would get to choose a toy, all kids could get a coat, and families would receive a to-go dinner. Snack bags and toiletry bags were given out, too.
An hour before the event, resident Lisa Cooke, wearing an elf hat, was ready. She was running the coat table with Laura Betye, resident council treasurer.
“We have been working on this since August because there are so many kids in the community whose parents can’t buy coats. There have been one or two warm days, but otherwise it’s cold,” Betye said. “I want to thank the Police Department and nursing schools [both Duke University and N.C. Central University],” she said, for collecting toys and coats. “We’re seriously grateful,” Betye said, and hopes that next year they’ll have extra school supplies and educational toys to give out, too.
In the kitchen, Quinn and her mother, Shirley Quinn, were boxing up hot meals that included fried chicken, turkey, macaroni and cheese, and stuffing from Golden Corral on Roxboro Road.
Earlier in the day, the Durham County fire marshal’s office and Durham residents brought over more toy donations, said Elaine Robinson, vice president of the resident council. The largest contributors were just individual people, she said. She donated, too.
“A lot of people; the people of Durham,” Robinson said. “I don’t know if we have enough, but we have what we have.”
She has lived in McDougald Terrace for 11 years.
“I’ve seen a lot. I’ve seen a lot of changes, from good to bad, from bad to good,” Robinson said. She has four children in Durham, ages 22, 19, 17 and 11, and more back home in New Jersey. Robinson moved to Durham to be with their father, she said, and is glad he’s in their lives.
Tables of toys were set up for boys and girls, with lots of cars, trucks, dolls and stuffed animals.
Outside, dozens of people were lined up waiting. First in line were Jataisha Barnard and her 1 year-old daughter, Sanyha. Barnard said Sanyha could pick whatever toy she wanted. One toy Sanyha is definitely getting for Christmas is a Barbie doll from her aunt Jada Barnard, 8, Jataisha’s sister.
Jada is a third-grader at Healthy Start Academy and will enjoy watching television during winter break before she goes back to class, she said, where she will be “learning, listening to my teacher and doing my work.”
Nearby other kids waited, talking about the colorful rubber band bracelets popular now, Rainbow Loom, and what other kinds of toys they liked, like Monster High.
A car pulled into the parking lot with a trunk full of large boxes. Among the haul were three big boxes with Hess on the side. Inside were several Hess rescue truck/helicopter toys. There was enough for each boy who was signed up to receive a toy he chose plus the truck/helicopter. The delivery was courtesy of the North Carolina National Guard.
Quinn and other residents hurried to add the last donations to the room, and then got ready to let families in, a few at a time.
The Barnards were first inside. Jada chose a glitter sand art kit. Sanyha had fallen asleep in her stroller and slept through it all. Sanyha’s mom, Jataisha Barnard, chose a toy phone for the baby, plus a big red teddy bear.