has been a Toys for Tots drop-off point for the last 15 years. This year instead of being a drop-off location, Forever Free was a distribution point where families picked up their Christmas Toys that had been donated throughout the county over the past three months.
63 years ago, a group of Marine reservists in Los Angeles collected and distributed toys to over 5,000 needy children. The idea was so successful that the next year the Marine Corps adopted Toys For Tots and made it a nationwide program. In 1995 it became an official mission of the Marine Corps Reserves.
Toys for Tots brings the community together for three months as they work to provide a Christmas for children who would otherwise go without.
"Many people in metro Atlanta have been hit hard this year with the economy and job losses so we are working extra hard asking for more donations and drop-off points," said Gunnery Sergeant Barrett.
Over 900,000 toy requests occurred throughout the Atlanta area this season. 500 of those toys were distributed at Forever Free Outreach Ministry under the direction of Reverend Vivian Dennis.
To make the experience even better, Bernhards Bakery and LaSuprema Bakery donated treats for Sunday's toy distribution. Dennis led a sermon at noon. Toy distribution began at 12:45 p.m. Many families who were receiving toys were deeply impacted by the sermon.
The Marines ask that unwrapped toys be brought to the hundreds of drop-off points so they can be sorted and given to the right child from birth to 12 years.
Even though the Marines coordinate and manage the program, it could not be successful without the support of the local residents and their generosity.
The following are ways you can help this year's Toys for Tots campaign:
- Organize an event.
- Volunteer to help sort toys.
- Donate money by sending a check or money order to: Toys For Tots, 1280 Field Pkwy Marietta, GA 30066.
- Conduct your own toy collection.
- Provide a service such as media or transportation support for the campaign.
- Provide a philanthropic donation of cash or toys.
For information regarding volunteering or hosting an event, contact Gunnery Sergeant Edward Barrett at 678-225-4599 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.