Toys for Tots in Marshall county lit up the holidays for nearly 600 children last year. But so far they will only be able to give toys to 200 kids. Toys for Tots representatives can only guess one reason for the decrease.
"Donations are down and the only thing we can figure is the economy is getting worse," said Marshall county Toys for Tots representative Lynetta Johnson.
But that hasn't stopped the volunteers in Madill. They are redoubling their efforts to bring in a flurry of donations.
To try to catch up to the their goal of collecting 1,000 toys Johnson said that she and other volunteers are going to be at the Madill square this weekend. On Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. they will collect extra toys and any cash donations.
The toy collections are new to some volunteers. Santa's Elves is a volunteer group based in Madill. It took over Toys for Tots three years ago after their local representative left. They're making sure that children aren't the only ones who get a happy holiday.
"The children that get a toy, their parents, the families get a really nice food basket," said Santa's Elves volunteer Herschel Beard.
Beard said when families come to pick up the toys for their children, they also get the makings for a Christmas meal. A five pound ham, 10 pounds of potatoes and fresh fruit are a few of the goodies families receive.
When volunteers hand out all these gifts, the goody for Johnson is seeing a child with a gift.
"You've got a three-year-old hugging you, telling you thank you, it's worth it, it's all worth it," she said.
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