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Toys stolen from Toys for Tots

December 12, 2006

Valdosta - Thousands of people donate to Toys for Tots each year to help bring Christmas joy to children in need.  "Every child loves to get gifts on Christmas morning and what a blessing it is to see a child's face with a new toy," says John Gates, the Lowndes County Coordinator for Toys for Tots

In Lowndes County, nearly 600 families applied to receive gifts for their little ones, but some might not have gifts under their trees.  "We've had some obstacles with the gifts.  Some of the toys this year have come up missing out of our boxes," Gates adds.

Gifts from Toys for Tots bins have gone missing in at least three locations, and its left them drastically short.  "We're about 280-290 toys short," he says.

And it's left the community baffled.  "Why would you steal a toy from a child that is really not able to get a toy?" asks Rosie Smart, a Toys for Tots supporter.

James Greene agrees.  "It's one of the worst things we could do because I think toys for children on Christmas is so great."

The original deadline for the toy pick-up was December 1, but was pushed back to Sunday due to the lack of toys. They are now searching for some additional help to reach their quota.  "I'm asking the community to go out and get some toys and bring it to Walmart on Saturday," says Gates.

They will be holding an additional toy drive Thursday at Belks at the Valdosta Colonial Mall.  They will begin distributing the toys December 18th.