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Santa along with LeBron's foundation deliver some 6,000 Little Tikes toys to Akron school kids [Akron Beacon Journal :: BC-HDY-EDU-JAMES-TOYS:AK]

AKRON, Ohio - When you're shopping for some 6,000 Akron public school kids, hometown hero LeBron James needed some help.

So the NBA superstar turned to Santa, Hudson-based Little Tikes and Goodyear Tire to bring a little holiday cheer to preschoolers, kindergartners and first- and second-graders at 30 Akron elementary schools.

Santa and his elves (many from Goodyear) along with an assist from the LeBron James Family Foundation took care of the magic.

Little Tikes provided the toys that ranged from Tumble Trains to LeBron basketball hoops to Bratz dolls. Two Men and a Truck made sure the goodies arrived at each school. And Thomas Limo provided a lift for Santa and the elves over two days.

The final stop was Tuesday ­afternoon at Findley Community Learning Center.

"I just love days like this," said Laurie Frankino, a senior elf and community relations person for Little Tikes. "This is one of my five favorite days of the year."

Top five?

"When you work for a toy company, you have a lot of great days," she said with a glint in her eye.

Like Little Tikes, Michele Campbell, director of LeBron's Foundation, said distributing toys to Akron public school ­children is a way for LeBron and his namesake foundation to give back and say thanks to the community.

"This is an awesome partnership with Little Tikes," she said.

Aside from the donation of the toys, Little Tikes also donates a ­portion of the profits to the foundation from the sales of hoops and basketball sets that feature LeBron.

Findley Principal Sherry Bennington said the children love the toys, but more importantly they are taught at a young age the lesson of creating a caring and loving community.

"This is just amazing," she said. "What a wonderful gift of giving back to the community."

Kindergartner Andy Roblero-Bamaca, 5, just loves trains and he loves the one Santa and LeBron gave him on Tuesday.

"School was fun today," he said.


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