Toys for Tots provides Christmas cheer
Two community organizations came together on Saturday for a program that epitomizes the Christmas spirit.
Young Marines of Davidson County held its annual Toys for Tots give-away at the Thomasville Masonic Lodge in a joint venture that put community and children at the forefront. Dozens of children were treated to a bag of toys and a visit with Santa Claus thanks to a program that is more than 60 years old.
"It's very rewarding to do this," said Jerry Foy, commander of the Young Marines of Davidson County. "It's the first time the Masonic Lodge has gotten involved in this. We're here for the kids."
Toys for Tots started in 1947 by two Marines in Los Angeles, Calif. Over the years, the program has grown exponentially to the point where millions of toys are handed out every Christmas throughout the United States. In Davidson County alone, Young Marines serviced 1,300 families, giving away more than 3,000 toys. Saturday night's effort provided toys to 75 families in the Thomasville area. Foy said the Toys for Tots foundation supplied him with 830 toys this year for Davidson County in addition to what he was able to collect through donations.
"This is my seventh year doing this," Foy said. "The toys come from citizens in the county donating at drop sites and also making cash donations. Last year, nationwide over $19 million worth of toys were handed out to more than seven million children. This year was even bigger and better."
Families register for the program online, providing a child's age and gender. The Young Marines of Davidson County sort out all the applications and put together a bag of three toys for each child targeting a specific gender.
Bobby Golding, senior steward at Masonic Lodge No. 214, said he approached Foy last year about the possibility of participating in the Toy for Tots program.
"We wanted to get the kids more involved," Golding said. "This is what it's all about. It's about the kids. It's not about us or anyone else, it's about the kids."
For Young Marine Samari Love, an 11-year-old at Thomasville Middle School, the chance to give back to his community was a rewarding experience.
"It feels really good to help other kids," said Love. "They don't have as much as stuff as we do so it feels really good to help out."
Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or email@example.com.