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North Carolina man continues annual Christmas toy drive at Niswonger

Brandon Paykamian • Dec 17, 2018 at 9:20 AM

For the past few years, Kenneth Melton Jr., an Avery County, North Carolina, resident, has been donating truckloads of Christmas gifts to the children at Niswonger Children’s Hospital with the help of others who donate to his annual toy drive.

On Friday, Melton arrived at the children’s hospital with the largest truckload yet since he first began his toy drive years ago.

“I’ve got something really special for you all today,” he said as he pulled up to the front of the hospital.

It all started six years ago when Melton, 46, won nearly $220,000 through the lottery. Feeling blessed, he felt the need to help others after hearing of a shortage of Christmas toys for pediatric patients.

“I said, ‘God, I want to repay you for this. I want to fill this whole truck up and give it to a local children’s hospital,’” he said. “And something hit me. Why not let the whole county do it?”

Eventually, Melton received the help of others throughout his community surrounding Newland after spreading the word through local radio stations, the internet, signs and word-of-mouth. Through the help of others, he has been able to gather thousands upon thousands of dollars worth of Christmas toys, gift certificates and more.

“This year, we have about $2,000, $3,000 worth of toys — maybe more,” he said. “Local people just bring it to the truck.”

He said he plans on continuing his annual toy drive “until the day I die.”

“I love doing this every year,” he said, giving special thanks to this year’s donors.

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