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Toys for Tots kicks off

Organizers expect increased demand

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POSTED: November 22, 2007 5:00 a.m.
More than 2,000 children from Liberty County and Fort Stewart are depending on the community for a brighter holiday season, according to Angela Powell, the local Toys for Tots coordinator.
The annual toy drive kicked off Nov. 1 and will culminate Dec. 15.
Powell, who has spearheaded the local effort since 1999, said she believes more families will be seeking help this year than in the past because of the deployments.
“I’m getting more calls from Fort Stewart. From what I’m seeing, the need is going to be greater,” Powell said.
She asks that anyone who knows of a family who might need toys for children, ages 1-16 years, to contact her or the United Way “so every child receives a toy for Christmas.”
The deadline to apply for assistance is Nov. 30.

About Toys for Tots
The Toys for Tots program is a nationwide effort with branches that extend to local communities.
Local sponsors are Marine Corps Reservists, EXIT Team Realty, the United Way, H&L Business Solutions, Family Connections and the Department of Family and Children Services.
Powell noted all toys and cash donations received in a community help children who live there.
Collection boxes are typically distributed, and people purchase new toys and then drop them “unwrapped” into the collection boxes.
So far, 51 collection boxes have been placed at various locations in the community — all from organizations, agencies and businesses that are eager to help.
“It’s amazing to see how everyone jumped in on this,” Powell said.
“Wal-Mart is allowing us to collect money Nov. 24, 30 and Dec. 7-8,” she said. “We’ll have volunteers out there from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.”
From there, the toys are distributed to families who have applied for assistance.
This year, they will be distributed from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 15 at Michael’s Deli in Hinesville.
Powell said any cash donations that are received would be used to buy new toys at discounted rates, thereby helping even more children.
Asked how many toys children typically receive, Powell said, “Hopefully, at least two toys each. The more we collect, the more they get.”
She also noted girls, between the ages of 5 and 10, are usually the big winners, because most people find it easier to shop for them.
“It’s always easy to buy a Barbie,” Powell said.
“It’s normally going to be under age 5 and then over age 10 where I see the greater need. There’s usually a lot of toys for girls, but boys don’t get as much,” she noted.
That’s where monetary donations help, she said.
Powell will take money that’s donated and purchase toys for the children that fit in the hard-to-shop-for category.
In addition to toys and cash donations, the Toys for Tots program also relies on the participation of corporate sponsors.
For more information about how you can help or receive assistance, contact the United Way office at 368-4282 or Powell at EXIT Team Realty at 408-8000, or email toysfortotsliberty@yahoo.com
 

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