Arts school partners with Toys for Tots

Published 7:05 pm Friday, November 5, 2010

Area residents now have a chance to help make sure localchildren wake up Christmas morning to the sight of presents nestledtightly under their trees.

The Mississippi School of the Arts will partner with the U.S.Marine Corps Reserve for the third year as a collection site forToys for Tots.

MSA faculty sponsor Melissa Moak said they managed to collectroughly 400 toys last year, and she has even higher hopes thisyear.

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“Our students have been so good about getting the word out,” saidMoak. “The students we have here are taking it to the nextlevel.”

Moak said students will be passing out flyers, hanging up postersand contacting local churches and businesses to promote the spiritof giving.

“It feels like Santa Claus a little bit,” said student coordinatorSam Hudson. “It’s a neat thing to say you’ve done.”

The drop box will be located in the library, which is on the secondfloor of the Student Life Center. MSA will also have drop offlocations at Walgreens on Brookway Boulevard and Just Kiddin’ onSouth Railroad Avenue.

“The more drop-off spots the better,” said Moak. “I’m all for otherbusinesses doing this.”

Those hoping to donate are not required to wrap their gifts.However, toys must be new and in original packaging.

Donors should submit their toys to one of the three locationsbefore Dec. 11.

The organizations are looking for toys that could be given to malesand females aging up to 17. Toys can be of any kind except stuffedanimals or weapon related.

Donating to Toys for Tots also allows local residents to givedirectly back to the community.

Every toy or dollar donated locally to Toys for Tots will beredistributed by a local church directly back to needy families inthe area.

Moak said she received roughly 30 to 40 phone calls from localfamilies last year needing help in providing children withpresents.

Toys for Tots began in Los Angeles in 1947. The organization hasbeen able to collect 15 million toys each year for the past 10years. This has resulted in helping more than 6 million childrenexperience some of the joys of Christmas.

Any interested businesses or organizations looking to participatein the program can call Sgt. Gordon Miller at 601-238-2425.

“We have got all kinds of volunteers and people wanting to helpout,” Gunnery Sgt. Shaun Wahl said on a visit to MSA to help set upthe donation boxes. “The phones are constantly ringing.”

Last year, Toys for Tots was able to serve over 300 families fromthe 19 surrounding counties.

“It’s just a great way to help out the community,” said Hudson.