Agencies partner up for 33rd year of Pitt County Operation Santa Claus


Santa Claus with a bird on his shoulder. November 9, 2019 (Courtesy Oregon Humane Society)

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Greenville Fire/Rescue is joined by the City of Greenville, Pitt County Schools, the Salvation Army, Greenville Utilities Commission, and Inner Banks Media for the 33rd annual Pitt County Operation Santa Claus.

The operation began in the Fire/Rescue department more than three decades ago and we are excited it has since expanded to include many other organizations – because that means more toys, more children, and more smiling faces on Christmas Day. Each year, the drive brings in thousands of toys for local families.

There are many toy drives this time of year, but what sets Operation Santa Claus apart from the others is that every toy collected will stay in Pitt County. Area families apply to the Salvation Army to receive gifts. Once the families are vetted, and if a need is determined, those families come to pick up their child-specific toys before Christmas.

Operation Santa Claus 2021 began in November and runs until Tuesday, December 14. Below are some notable dates for the toy drive.

12/3/21: Inner Banks Media and GFR, along with the Salvation Army will be hosting a Radiothon event at Great Harvest Bread Company (2803 Evans St.) from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. collecting toys and donations for the drive.

12/4/21: GFR and the Salvation Army will be at both Walmart Supercenter stores in Greenville (Greenville Blvd. and East 10th St.) from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. collecting toys for the drive.

GFR and the Salvation Army will also be at Greenville Gives at Five Points Plaza from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. collecting toys and donations for the drive.

12/15/21: The collected toys are picked up from our different locations throughout the county and dropped off at the warehouse behind GFR Station 6 (3375 East 10th St.). Social workers and counselors from Pitt County Schools will come to collect toys for the students in their schools who need a helping hand. You are invited to attend on Wednesday, December 15th to get video, pictures, and interviews at 1:00 p.m.

12/21/21: Come out and hear all your favorite holiday classics from the legendary band The Embers, featuring Craig Woolard, for a benefit concert supporting Pitt County Operation Santa Claus. The concert, which is hosted by Reimage Church (3950 Victory Ln.), is the perfect way to get your whole family in the Christmas Spirit. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and music starts at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $20 and children under 10 get in for free! Tickets are available online at and in person at Steinbeck’s Men’s Shop and at the IBX Media studios located at 1884 West Arlington Blvd. in Greenville. Thanks to our generous sponsors, every penny from the ticket sales will be used to buy toys for underprivileged kids in Pitt County through Operation Santa Claus.

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