Free hot chocolate for all kids Sunday night, encouraged to bring donation for Toys for Tots
Scott Davenport’s Christmas light show on 505 Poplar St. in Hamlet is doing more than entertaining residents. This year, it is teaching 8-year-old Drew Carpenter about charity.
For the past two years, the former Marine has been constructing a holiday display for neighbors to enjoy. “We add more every year,” Davenport said. Every light strand is called a channel and the display has grown from 64 channels to 240 channels.
“I work in IT and things like this intrigue me. I do it because I enjoy it,” Davenport said. The display takes seven to eight weeks to complete with a team of six to seven people.
The Christmas light show is synchronized to holiday music.
Two years ago Chris Carpenter, who lives across the street from Davenport, allowed his son Drew to set up a hot chocolate stand during the holiday light show. “He originally wanted a lemonade stand,” Carpenter said.
Every year he sells hot chocolate for $1, and Drew’s stand has now become a reoccurring part of the light show. “It’s really exciting because now he can do everything by himself,” said Carpenter.
On one night only, Sunday, Dec. 16, Drew’s hot chocolate stand will give away free hot chocolate to all children and encourage them to bring an unwrapped toy and donate it to the Toys for Tots campaign. As an added thrill, Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus, elves and a reindeer will make an appearance during the light show.
A Toys for Tots box is stationed next to the hot chocolate stand.
“Every time we see a box, Drew wants to put a toy in it — and our neighbor was in the Marine Corps.,” Carpenter said of his son’s interest in giving to others.
Although this is the first year Carpenter is participating in Toys for Tots, he has been working for Habitat for Humanity for the past three years.
He credits his parents for teaching him about charity. “When I was about Drew’s age, I remember my dad dressing up like Santa for the local churches. He would dress up early and my mom would drive us around so he could give candy canes out to kids,” Carpenter said.
Carpenter thought he could use this opportunity to teach Drew that “not all kids are fortunate.” Drew said he is doing Toys for Tots “to help kids get toys.”
“He’s very generous,” Carpenter said of his son.
Carpenter’s house is now an official Toys for Tots drop-off point, and he hopes to fill at least one box with toys, but has five boxes available. Residents will be able to drop toys off Dec. 15 and 16, however, Santa and the special guests will only make an appearance on Sunday night. Tents will be set up in case it rains.
The show starts at 5:30 p.m. and ends at 10:30 p.m. on weekdays and 11:30 p.m. on weekends. Drew begins selling hot chocolate at 6:30 p.m. every night.
— Staff Writer Laura Edington can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.