ALBANY, GA (WALB) – More children in southwest Georgia will have presents under the tree this year thanks to the Salvation Army, the Marine Corps, and generous folks like you.
Nearly 600 families signed up for help through Toys for Tots, and the program collected enough toys for nearly 4,000 children. Saturday, those families will get those presents. The Salvation Army was worried about getting enough toys this year, their campaign started later than ever before, and just three weeks ago the Marines expressed their concern, but as you're about to see the community found the Christmas spirit and helped both organizations surpass their goal.
It looks like Santa's workshop, but it's Marines instead of elves who are still sorting through toys to make sure everyone's Christmas wish is met.
"The community has really heard our calls, they've picked up the challenge and they've moved forward with donating toys," said 1STSGT James Watson, US Marine Corps.
Large brown bags are lined up like stockings, filled with gifts for 593 families who asked for assistance this year.
"This represents not only a bag of toys, this represents a family, this represents children, this represents Christmas morning and what it means to have something under the tree," said Captain Doug McClure, The Salvation Army.
Without the generous donations of bikes, games, and other toys from the community, for many Christmas may not have been possible.
"Some of the people that donated these toys will never meet the families that these toys are going to, but the truth is they're making a permanent difference, a permanent change in their hearts and lives," said McClure.
All the result of a perfect partnership, from the Salvation Army expertise at vetting the families, to the Marine Corps manpower and logistics that help pull it all together. Now in its fifth year, that partnership added up to extra toys.
"I will go to the hospitals, both Phoebe and Palmyra and I'll visit the children in the hospital as well as leaving extra toys with the hospital for children that arrive on the 24th or 25th," said Watson.
Ensuring everyone has a Merry Christmas this year.
Toys for Tots collected about 15-percent more toys than usual. Because of the sheer volume, they'll be able to provide toys for families serviced by the Lily Pad and several other organizations who had a need this holiday season.
Toys for Tots will hold their Toy Distribution tomorrow from 9:00 AM until 4:00 PM. Families should have received a notice with a specified time to pick up their toys.