Charity gives children reason to smile - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Charity gives children reason to smile

December 3, 2006

Albany -- An annual charity that helps thousands of children have a merry Christmas still needs help this holiday season. The Marine Corps Reserves Toys for Tots and Salvation Army expect to help more than 21,000 Southwest Georgia children have toys under the tree this year.

Some golfers teed-off to bring plenty of toys to some South Georgia kids in need. It's a hobby Jerry Wessels has enjoyed for 40 years now. He goes golfing every weekend. But this time on the green is for a good cause.

"Toys for Tots. This is for them and the Salvation Army and that's what we're out here for. It's charity and for the kids," said Wessels.

Wessels was one of more than 130 golfers to play in the Annual Toys for Tots Golf Tournament. To play golfers bought in a toy for the charity and their registration fee was also donated to the cause.

"Between all these toys that were brought in today plus the money that was raised from the golf tournament, all that money will be turned around and used here in the Albany and Lee County areas for toys and bicycles," said Toys For Tots Coordinator Petty Officer 2nd Class John Gilbreath.

Last year, 81,000 toys went to children in Southwest Georgia. "It gives them something to look forward to when normally they wouldn't," said Gilbreath.

As a retired marine himself, Wessels knows the importance of the Toys For Tots Program. "We're going to enjoy the day with golf and hopefully get plenty of toys for the kids. That's what our job is," said Wessels.

So while golfers have their playtime on the course, they're helping Toys for Tots give thousands of kids a chance to play too on Christmas.

Organizers expect up to 200 toys from the golf tournament. To see a list of places to donate visit www.swgatoysfortots.org.

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