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Scouts to collect toys for kids

By ALESSANDRA DA PRA, Times Staff Writer
Published November 30, 2007


VIRGINIA PARK - A particularly young Santa and his helpers hope to lighten the holidays for needy children of the Tampa Bay area.

Matthew Paskert, 14, together with other Boy Scouts and volunteers will collect Christmas gifts around the Virginia Park neighborhood Sunday, starting at 4 p.m.

"The purpose of the Santa Stop Project is to get presents for children that won't get presents for Christmas," Paskert said.

The group will drag a sleigh to street corners within the boundaries of Dale Mabry west to Manhattan Avenue and Bay to Bay Boulevard south to El Prado Boulevard.

"We will be moving from street corner to street corner and collect gifts that people bring to us," he said.

The donations will be sorted by gender and age and distributed to Egypt Lake Elementary School, the Weed & Seed program, and the Redlands Christian Migrant Association.

Paskert, who attends Jesuit High School, has been in the Boy Scouts of America for the past eight years. He is currently a Life Scout, and hopes the Santa Stop Project will fulfill a requirement to attain the Eagle Scout rank.

Scoutmaster George Mitchell said that each Life Scout who wishes to become an Eagle Scout is responsible for creating his own project with little adult involvement.

"The most important thing is not doing the project, but to demonstrate leadership," Mitchell said.

About 5 percent of all Boy Scouts earn the Eagle Scout rank, according to the Boy Scout of America Web site.

[Last modified November 29, 2007, 07:55:27]

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