If you live in Rutherford County, chances are you've heard about the untimely death of Matthew Pannell. As reported by MA Andrews in the Rutherford Weekly back in December of 2013, "Mr. Pannell, everybody calls him Cosmo and his wife, Joni had just one child, a son, they named Matthew. He worked with his dad while living at home. On October 2, 2011, Matthew went out to the races with some friends, came home that night and later unexpectedly passed away in his sleep. He was 24 years old. It was shocking to his parents, relatives and friends. Matthew Pannell had a lot of good friends. He was highly loved and thought of and there was a tremendous void in their lives. Just a month after his passing, family and friends decided to do something typical of Matthew. That began it all. That was the start of The Matthew Pannell Shinning Star Foundation. The decision was made to do something reflective of their caring and giving son. Money would be raised and gifts would be given in the form of presents to needy children at Christmas."
"When we arrived home with Korben from the hospital, there were a lot of baby items waiting on us. The Pannells heard that Korben was born on the anniversary of their son's death through a church we were attending at that time and that we had no family in the area. We were very grateful for all the baby stuff. After learning what the Foundation did at Christmas time, and observing for ourselves, we understood the need for toys in the community at Christmas. A couple years later, we decided to repay the Foundation for their kindness and help get more toys for the children in the county and pay it forward at the same time," explained Sarah and Christopher Chrisawn when asked why they established Korben's Toy Drive.
Two families, two sons, connected forever by coincidence? Maybe, but probably more so by charitable and loving hearts. One family grieving the loss of their beloved son and the other celebrating the birth of theirs, both on a mission to improve the life of disadvantaged children in our community. This is how and why Korben's Toy Drive was created. A random act of kindness on the part of the Pannell family, reaching out to a family, whose "first and only, God given miracle" happened to be born on October 2nd. It was the beginning of a journey to repay a kindness extended by a grieving family and to teach a young boy the values they shared.
On Saturday, September 30th, 2017, the 2nd annual Korben's Toy Drive will take place at Bubba's Fun Park in Forest City from 11:00 am - 8:00 pm. With the donation of a new unwrapped toy, children can spend the whole day playing in the park and be treated with door prizes, drinks, pizza, and cupcakes. The Chrisawn's are committed to making it a great day for Korben and all the children who come out to support this most worthy cause. 100% of all toys and money raised that day will go directly to the Matthew Pannell Shining Star Foundation, which in turn, provides Christmas presents for under privileged children all across the county.
The Chrisawn's are grateful for items that were donated last year. "Bubba's gives us a special rate for kids after the first 40 and the staff is awesome and so helpful before, during and after the toy drive. We cover the cost ourselves but wouldn't turn down any help or sponsors. Last year, Main Street Coffee and Ice Cream in Rutherfordton donated two free scoops of ice cream and Sweet Frog donated 6 free small yogurts. Lifestyles Wellness and Fitness Spa donated some awesome free services that we raffled off. We would love some more businesses to donate things to raffle off so we could buy more toys... Oh, and this year, Casper's Closet has donated two costumes for the day, but we need volunteers to wear them or they won't be used."
More information about volunteering, donating, or attending Korben's Toy Drive can be found on their facebook page or by calling Sarah at 828-450-0586. Any and all contributions are welcomed and appreciated.