CHATHAM — Samuel Love said he doesn't take his last name lightly, which is why he plans to ship off 500 donated toys on Wednesday to Lyons Middle School in Colorado.
Since October Love, 10, had canvassed the city searching for donated toys or gift cards he could give to needy kids affected by tornadoes in Oklahoma and Colorado. Samuel added that he had hoped to collect enough toys between Saturday and Wednesday to send to children in Washington, Ill., but fell short of that goal.
Making his final stop at his grandmother's soul-food restaurant, Josephine's Cooking, 436 E. 79th St., Samuel packed up 500 more toys to be sent to Colorado for distribution.
"It feels good to know that I am spreading love around to other children less fortunate then me," Samuel said. "What good is it to have a name like 'Love' and not show some love when people really need it?"
Joining Samuel Tuesday at Josephine's to box up toys were Jacqueline Hudson, manager of the Grand Crossing Post Office at 7715 S. Cottage Grove Ave.
Samuel "is a fine young man and a good example of doing something positive for the community," she said. "I am proud to be a part of this community effort on Sam's part."
And although he did not reach his goal of collecting 2,000 toys or gift cards, Samuel said he was grateful for the 1,500 toys donated to his citywide toy drive.
"People did not have to give but they did anyway and I want to say thank you to everyone and all the organizations, businesses, friends, family and strangers that gave to my cause," he said. "The best part about giving is seeing what a difference it can make to someone."
His dad, Victor Love, said 300 toys were previously shipped to Hilltop Baptist Church in Norman, Okla. And thanks to the Chatham 14 Theaters 100 toys were collected Saturday at its annual holiday party.
"The mayor said he came to the party to meet me. He said he had heard what I was doing and wanted to personally meet me to tell me to keep up the good work," Samuel said.
While he has no plans to start a third toy drive next year Samuel said you never know what might happen.
"Anything could happen between now and then where children might not have a good Christmas," Samuel said. "Every kid should have at least one present under the tree Christmas morning. I know I would be sad if I woke up and had no toys."
In fact, Samuel said all he wants from Christmas is an XBox game console.