Over 1,000 Toys Delivered to Over 500 Children by Toys 4 Our Town
by James Coulter
More than 500 local children had a very Merry Christmas this year, as more than 1,000 toys were delivered to more than 200 families through the fourth annual Toys 4 Our Town.
Melanie Brown Culpepper, owner of Melanie’s Cutting Edge, spearheaded the annual toy drive once again this year, collecting 1,017 toys throughout December from 14 locations, including Barrel 239, Gary’s Grove, Jesse’s Lounge, Somewhere Sports Bar, TL’s Old Place, Twisted Prop, Out-n-About, Apple Lounge, Brews Hounds, LA’s Misway, AJ Slammers, Cherry Pocket, and Caribbean Bay.
On Christmas Day, all of these toys were delivered to select families in the Winter Haven area. Bobbie Williams, pastor of Freedom Tour Church, oversaw the deliveries made to 521 children and 274 families.
“My success comes from…our whole community for coming out and showing their love by giving the unwrapped toys and donations to help ones in need when it matters the most.” Melanie said. “Blessing our family’s and these kids to give them a Christmas and show them all love is what Christmas is really about.”
Melanie has been hosting this toy drive for the past four years. She owes her success to the community in assisting her. She appreciates the effort provided by the participating bars and their patrons, and Pastor Bobbie Williams and his congregation from Freedom Tour Church.
“What I most enjoyed was blessing so many kids and families at their time in need right here in our town,” Melanie said. “I was born here and raised here in Polk County, and [it is] where my heart is to help ones in our own town and community.”
Also assisting with these deliveries and drives were IMAG Academy at LRHS, Living Body of Christ in Sebring, Central Florida Health Care, Polk County Sheriffs Office of Frostproof and Eloise, Lake Wales Police Department and Community Services, and Rooted Ministries in Haines City.
He also donated a $500 check to Melanie’s other charity, Culpepper’s Cardiac Foundation. Through her organization, Melanie has made deliveries of homemade meals and food to fire departments in cities like Winter Haven, Lake Wales, and Haines City. Culpepper Cardiac Foundation has also raised proceeds to donate in two scholarships, one for fire fighters and EMT, and another for Medical for Heart.
Melanie has also hosted various charity drives, from pool to bass fishing tournaments, to raise money for the installation of AEDs within the Winter Haven area. AEDs have already been installed at Cutting Edge Salon, Old Man Frank’s, Winter Haven Boxing, and The Mission of Winter Haven.