5th-grader's effort will replace toys lost in fires

The staff and students at W.R. Odell Elementary are gearing up for their annual Fall Festival on Friday.

Some students are filling guessing jars with goodies, while others are baking sweets for the cake walk.

One student, however, has decided he wants to do something different this year.

Anthony Carneglia, a fifth-grader in the Academically and Intellectually Gifted program, will collect toys for local kids who lost all their toys in a fire.

"My AIG class is doing a 'Make a Difference Project,' which is a community service project," Anthony said. "I thought my idea would be a great way to make a difference in my community."

Anthony has had this idea since he was much younger. His dad worked as a firefighter in New Jersey.

"When I was 4 and my dad came home from work, I asked him what happens when kids lose all of their toys in a fire," Anthony said. "He said they get burned and they do not have any.

"I said that was sad, and I came up with the idea that I wanted to give toys to kids."

Anthony's parents, Mike and Gabrielle Carneglia, couldn't be prouder of their son.

"We are so happy that after six years, his dream of starting this project is becoming a reality," said Mike.

Gabrielle said, "We hope Anthony learns to put others before himself and that when there are families that are hurting, we as a community can come together and help."

Collecting at school festival

Anthony will have a booth set up at the Odell Fall Festival, collecting new toys for children younger than 14. He will also accept monetary donations toward buying new toys.

"I will be there with a fire truck and members of the Concord Fire and Life Safety Department. I will be contacted by the Concord fire department when there is a family in need and will bring the toys to the children."

Anthony said there is no cutoff date for donations.

"This is a program I would like to continue doing in the future, and I also would like to get my younger brother and sisters involved as they get older," he said. That should not be a problem, since Anthony is the oldest of four.

The Odell Fall Festival is 5-9 p.m. Friday. Anthony will be there the entire time, fulfilling his childhood dream.

"The name of my organization is Anthony's Angels. I really want to make this project successful to help kids in need, and I appreciate the support from the community," he said.

To make a donation or for more information, you can contact Anthony and the Carneglia family at 704-962-6142 or e-mail them at They also are setting up an account at the local BB&T branch to accept monetary donations.