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Toys for Tots Kicks Off in Central MS

By Lawayne Childrey | Published 01 Nov 2013 09:00am | comments

The holiday season is fast approaching and programs are already underway to make the season bright for thousands of Mississippi children. MPB's Lawayne Childrey reports on the efforts of Toys for Tots in Central Mississippi. 

Even though the decorations may still be up for Halloween members of the Central Mississippi Marine Corps League are already looking ahead to Christmas. The group will began accepting applications tomorrow at Metrocenter Mall in Jackson for its Toys for Tots program.  Richard Catlett says the group hopes to get about 40 thousand toys into the hands of needy children across 17 counties in central Mississippi.

"There so many people out there, a lot are losing their jobs, don't have any incomes coming in, can barely make ends meet. And to have a child without Christmas, toys and things under the tree is devastating I would think. So were gonna provide toys for the kids who do need toys and make a special Christmas and have a good Christmas at their house."

Mary Quick of Pearl has been a Toys for Tots volunteer for more than two decades.

"It breaks your heart when you're taking the application sometimes. And you hear the stories you know of where there has been a fire and they have lost everything at the last minute. Or there's been a death in the family. You know any number of circumstances and it really just tares at ya."

In years past, the Toys for Tots program in Central Mississippi has been operated by the U.S. Marine Corps. Last year the group distributed  approximately eight thousand toys. This year the program is being run by the Central Mississippi Marine Corps League, a group similar to the American Legion, VFW and other retired service member organizations. Vice Commandant, Billy Henderson says the size of his group will make a huge impact on the number of families being serviced.

"The area has been this big but they didn't have the personnel to cover all the area so primarily what was covered was Jackson and the surrounding counties. We reach all the way out to Pike County, Port Gibson, Fayette, all those areas down there. We want each child if possible to have at least three toys each."

In order to achieve their goal Henderson says they need public support. They are encouraging Individuals  to  drop off new unwrapped toys for children up to age 13 at any local Walgreens location in central Mississippi. Additional information can be found on the Toys for Tots website. Lawayne Childrey, MPB News.







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