LEESBURG, GA (WALB) - Foster children in Lee County will have a very merry Christmas morning.
That's because hundreds of toys were donated this year during the annual toy collection drive, the largest yet.
Police officers, deputies, firefighters and chamber employees helped unload the donated toys at the Department of Family and Children Services office in Leesburg Tuesday morning.
Overseeing the process, and even doing some lifting, is the man who started this project 17 years ago, Leesburg Police Chief Charles Moore.
Moore is facing his third bout with cancer, stage four liver cancer.
He admitted he wasn't feeling well, but said he wouldn't miss seeing the toy drive through.
"It's been 17 years and I am not going to miss it. It's all about the kids and I wouldn't miss it for nothing," explained Moore.
Thirty-eight Lee County foster children filled out wish lists for Christmas.
Brand new bikes and toys have been donated, and cash donations helped pay for wishlist items that were not donated.
Moore expressed gratitude for all the people who donated, as well as fellow law enforcement and others who helped.
"It's a blessing because it's been hard times for a lot of people. We are impressed with everything that everybody did. You can't put a monetary value on the happiness of a child. And, that is what our program is about, making children happy," said Moore.
Since 2009, Sheriff Reggie Rachals and his team have been helping with the annual Lee County Foster Children Toy Collection.
Sheriff Rachals marveled at how much was donated by generous people, and also how his friend, Chief Moore, was standing strong.
"He has got a lot of spirit about continuing on with what his goal is, and that is keeping the kids happy as he has done for 17 years. And, it has been a pleasure working side by side with the chief and continue to look forward to that in the future, as far as God will take us," said Rachals.
Division of Family and Children Services employees sorted out the toys Tuesday and will get them to the foster families in time for Christmas.
The toy collection began after Thanksgiving, and toy drop-off points were located across the county, including at fire stations and dollar stores.
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