5 years and $25,000 and this local band is just getting started when it comes to Toys for Tots

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L Shape Lot raised several thousand dollars in toys at the annual Toys for Tots concert in 2015. Photo courtesy of Eric Miller.
L Shape Lot raised several thousand dollars in toys at the annual Toys for Tots concert in 2015. (Photo courtesy of Eric Miller)

WILMINGTON — Join the band L Shape Lot for some live music and help play Santa at the 5th Annual Toys for Tots concert.

The annual fundraising concert will be held at the Brooklyn Arts Center on Saturday, Dec. 17. The concert is aimed at purchasing toys for the “Toys for Tots” charity. Concertgoers are asked to bring a new or unwrapped toy to donate at the show.

Founded in 1947, the Toys for Tots program is run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve, with a mission to distribute toys to children whose parents cannot afford to buy gifts for Christmas.

Eric Miller, singer for L Shape Lot and an on-air talent for Port City Daily’s sister radio station The Penguin 98.3 FM, said the idea behind the annual concert started with the urge to do something good for someone else during the holidays.

“Our first year…we just said ‘well let’s do something good.’ So we decided to turn it into a little Toys for Tots fundraiser,” Miller said. “We ended up with two boxes of toys. And it felt so good to drop those toys off that next day, we decided to do it again.”

Each year since, the holiday show has gathered more and more toys for families in need. And last year, Miller said the concert raised “a boat load” of toys for the charity.

Toys from last year's show filled a boat.
Toys from last year’s show filled a boat.

“We literally had a boat load of toys,” Miller said. “When we had to go get them the next day, we had to figure out how to get them all from the Brooklyn Arts Center to the Salvation Army drop off point. We had a friend bring his boat and we just filled his boat full of toys.”

With anything from Nerf guns, to toy cars, to bikes; the charity concert has raised raised more than $25,000 dollars in toys with past concerts. Miller said he hopes this year’s concert will raise even more toys for kids in need.

“I’m just a big kid myself,” Miller said. “It’s just the perfect time of year to raise toys. We’ve been beyond blessed and the amount of support we get is unbelievable. It feels so good to do something special for other people.”

The doors of the Brooklyn Arts Center will open at 7 p.m. Opening act Oak Grove String Band from Kings Mountain, North Carolina, will start the show at 8 p.m., with L Shape Lot to follow.

L Shape Lot is based in Wilmington and promises a mix of Americana, blues and country, according to its website. The band includes Miller, Alex Lanier on guitar, Rick Williams on bass, and Mykel Barbee playing drums. But on the night of the show, the band will have several special guests on fiddle, banjo and more.

Tickets for the show are $10 at the door. More information about the concert can be found on the website for the Brooklyn Arts Center.