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Waynesboro family takes holiday giving to heart

December 13, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- They're not much older than "tots" themselves, but five siblings from Waynesboro have committed to doing all they can for Toys for Tots this holiday season.

The Checote family is involved in several aspects of the toy drive, including collection, sorting and distribution. The older siblings established business support and collection sites across southern Franklin County.

"It is what Christmas is and should be -- giving without asking," said Kavan Checote, 20.

Kavan, Keely, Kyle, Kara and Kaye Checote are members of the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps, a program designed to develop leadership abilities and broaden horizons. They belong to Belleau Wood Sea Devils Division of Chambersburg, Pa., and their ranks range from entry-level E-1 to chief petty officer.

Kavan started working with Toys for Tots when the Checotes belonged to a unit based in Harrisburg, Pa. When joining the Chambersburg unit three years ago, he discovered it didn't participate in Toys for Tots.

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Kavan started talking to store managers about setting up collection sites in Mercersburg, Pa., Greencastle, Pa., and Waynesboro. He's now passed that responsibility to Kyle and Keely.

The entire family recently helped run a spaghetti dinner where toys were collected.

"They're truly volunteering, and they're volunteering with adults who have nothing to gain," the children's mother, Naomi Checote, said of the role models around them.

Kaye said she likes to help people, and to work with her brothers and sisters.

"We were always taught charity starts at home," Kavan said.

"We need help, and they're there to help. They've never turned us down," J.R. Wells said of the Checotes.

Wells, of Landis-McCleaf Detachment Marine Corps League, organizes Toys for Tots for Franklin and Fulton counties, and part of Cumberland County in Pennsylvania.

"The program is important because every child deserves a Christmas," he said.

Kyle said the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve program is especially in need of items for those ages 13 and older in the region.

Sports equipment and school supplies are especially appreciated by recipients in that age range, the Checotes said. No toy guns can be submitted, they said.

"All the toys we collect stay within the Franklin County area," Kavan said.

Items should be gently used or new. They should be unwrapped and submitted before Dec. 16.

Donation locations include Dollar General stores from Mercersburg to Rouzerville, Pa.; Neverland Games in Waynesboro; Kmart in Waynesboro; Frank's Pizza locations; Tower Banks in Waynesboro and Greencastle; First National Bank of Mercersburg in Greencastle; Susquehanna Banks in Greencastle, State Line, Pa., and Rouzerville; Curves in Waynesboro and Greencastle; and the libraries in Greencastle, Waynesboro and Blue Ridge Summit, Pa.

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