4th annual Carl’s Christmas Cheer to raise toys for Georgetown children: DeVault, Ford family accepting local donations

Published 6:43 pm Monday, November 28, 2016

Carl's Christmas Cheer is an initiative started up by Elizabethton native Chris DeVault. DeVault started the event, which is a toy drive for children in South Carolina, to honor Carl Ford, Chris' uncle.

Carl’s Christmas Cheer is an initiative started up by Elizabethton native Chris DeVault. DeVault started the event, which is a toy drive for children in South Carolina, to honor Carl Ford, Chris’ uncle.

While he may be away from the area, Chris DeVault’s heart still lies with Elizabethton.
And that heart continues to share love, according to Chris’ mother, Carolyn, as an event spearheaded by DeVault prepares for a fourth year of service in South Carolina.
It was a no-brainer for 2016 for DeVault to once again give “Carl’s Christmas Cheer” the greenlight. Over the past three years, Chris has orchestrated the event to help serve the children of Georgetown County, S.C., where he currently works as head athletic trainer for schools in the county. The event was named in honor of DeVault’s uncle — Carl Ford — and is held in conjunction with the Toys for Tots program spearheaded by the U.S. Marine Corps.
Carl passed away six years ago in his 70s, but his loving spirit spread throughout the family — especially during Christmas time, according to Carolyn.
“He had such a good memory,” she recalled about her brother. “When the children grew up, (Carl) was still our Christmas.”
Seeing the impact Carl made on Chris’ life has been a sight to see, Carolyn added.
“Very proud,” she added with a smile when asked about her son’s actions. “People who don’t have children like Carl in the family, you don’t know what joy they bring and what patience you learn. Chris works with the high schools in Georgetown and they have special needs children. He can relate to them very well. I didn’t realize the impact Carl had on (Chris) until all this started. You never really know until your children grow up.”
The impact Carl made on the DeVault family made the Toys for Tots partnership come with ease, Chris said.
“He’s why our family got so much joy from Christmas,” he added. “He loved getting toys and just loved this time of the year. During the first year, it was a bit of a test run but we were able to get 50 toys. Year two, we raised 112 toys and then last year our goal was 300 toys and we got 357. It was fantastic.”
For 2016, Carl’s Christmas Cheer is looking to raise 400 toys for children in Georgetown County.
“Toys for Tots has been incredible,” Chris said. “Last year, they received 11,000 toys for children and in this area, that’s the only Christmas some of the kids will ever get.”
Georgetown County has also seen its fair share of troubles in the past two years. With flooding last year and then hurricane season impacting the region, it only snowballs in one of the poorest counties in South Carolina, Chris said.
“A lot of these children don’t understand their family’s financial situation,” he added. “Not to sound sappy but it warms your heart to see these children smile when they receive a present. There were 11,000 toys given out by Toys for Tots in Georgetown, so that was 11,000 kids laughing, smiling and enjoying Christmas.”
Carl’s Christmas Cheer is open for anyone looking to contribute in honor of Ford, Chris said. While spreading the word in South Carolina, Carolyn and Rita Ford are helping coordinate donations in Carter County.
Any individuals looking to make a cash/gift donation, or provide a gift card from Wal-Mart, can call Carolyn at (423) 512-1946 or Ford at (423) 542-6781. Chris also encouraged individuals to visit the Carl’s Christmas Cheer Facebook page online for updates and to view an Amazon listing of toys, which people can purchase and have directly shipped to Chris. One hundred percent of donations and funds raised during this event go directly to the children in Georgetown County. Local donations are being taken until Saturday, Dec. 10.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox