Community responds overwhelmingly to Cartersville toy drives
by Marie Nesmith
Dec 21, 2010 | 2468 views | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Lisa Davis, who has three children, checks into the Toys for Tots distribution site Saturday. Processing her toy request are volunteers, from left, Edna Mulkey, Richard Goodson, Berta Johnson and Dennis Haupt.
SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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Even though its toy distribution was Saturday, Toys for Tots' local contributions are far from over. Last weekend at the Cartersville Physicians Center, the dispersal provided toys for 1,436 children newborn to 14.

Unsure of what the level of community donations would be, the public's overwhelming donations were a welcome sight to organizers like Richard Goodson.

"The community response was unbelievable," he said. "This is one time that Bartow County should stand up and take a bow throughout the whole state of Georgia. We went from zero toys and 1,000 children to more toys than we could possibly give out and still taking phone calls today for the fact that we still have toys coming in.

"There are still an abundance of toys. So we hope to [assist] 1,500, maybe 1,600 children. We're also still supporting The Salvation Army [Angel] Tree ... with whatever they need."

For financially struggling parents, who still are needing assistance with obtaining gifts for their children, Goodson encourages them to call him at 404-593-3547 through Wednesday at 8 p.m.

"We're not going to say no to anybody. As long as they can come down and pick them up and they have a need and they haven't signed up for any other agencies, as long as we've got a toy I'm not going to say, 'No,'" Goodson said. "We're not going to put them in storage when somebody could use them come Christmas morning."

Like Goodson, Capt. Nancy Fuller with The Salvation Army's Cartersville Corps also is delighted with the public's response. The majority of items for The Salvation Army's Angel Tree program were collected after donors obtained paper ornaments on artificial Christmas trees located throughout the county. By using the information posted on the ornaments -- a child's first name and age -- anonymous donors were encouraged to purchase up to three toys.

"The response has been overwhelming this year," Fuller said. "Last year was such a nightmare but this year has just been a 180 degree turnaround. The response has been overwhelming. The toys are beautiful this year. They have really gone above and beyond. It's just been a wonderful, wonderful year so far.

"We've had over 500 applications this year but Toys for Tots has been wonderful to us. Toys for Tots took 300 of our applications ... so that left us about 250 or so [families] to fill. So that's a big load off of us. So that has been a tremendous help."

While The Salvation Army's toy drive is in good shape for today's distribution, Fuller said there still is a need for toys for older children.

"We can always use last minute toys and last minute stocking suffers or stockings or candy or whatever," she said. "We don't start distribution until 9 o'clock in the morning [today] so we can always use anything that anybody wants to bring to us. We'll put it to use, that's not a problem.

"Even the distribution [today or] even Wednesday, we have some stragglers or last minute people who say they didn't get anything anywhere that come to us. So anything we can help with, we [will do]. Usually [toys are needed for] the older kids -- 11-, 12-, 13-year-olds. We never get enough stuff for the older kids for some reason. A big thing this year is MP3 players, the CD boom boxes, the digital cameras."

Individuals wanting to deliver toys today need to drop off items for the pre-approved families at The Salvation Army, 16 Felton Place in Cartersville. For more information, call 770-387-9955.