Cherrie, Georgia – Volunteer
In 2015, the Toys for Tots campaign was winding down. I believe it was our last day of distribution. We received a last-minute family request from a grandmother in Canton, GA. Her daughter had liver cancer and was not expected to live through Christmas. The grandmother was taking care of her daughter and her three grandchildren. The medical bills were astronomical. She was trying to make it on social security and was tormented by the impending loss of her daughter. She needed help to give her grandchildren something to smile about that Christmas season. My husband was at the warehouse with me for the final toast ceremony, and with the help of the family coordinator, we bagged up toys for the three children.
Later that night, we took the toys to that family. The grandmother had tears in her eyes when she opened the door to greet us. The children sprung to life at the excitement of receiving toys. It broke my heart to see the little girl cling to a babydoll we gave her and the boys immediately tear into the Nerf toys. I don’t know when their mom passed, but every time I drive by their street I think of that night. It was a night with so much sadness and sorrow, but for a few brief minutes, we were able to give joy to that family by giving toys to the children.
This week I was honored to introduce Toys for Tots to my boss’ wife and two girls. Emma is 13 and Meghan is 11. I asked each girl to tell me about their experience with Toys for Tots. Below is Emma's letter to me…
“Dear Toys for Tots,
My name is Emma. I helped as a volunteer at the Atlanta location. It was the most fun I have had in a long time. I got to help collect and pick up toys from the drop sites, and then was able to bring the toys to the warehouse to be counted and then sorted. I also got to help by having the pleasure to shop for some of the families and fill their orders. All of this happened on Monday. Then on Thursday, we did final pickups at some of the drop sites and helped unload the toys we had picked up. Then I had the pleasure to help people from a group home unload a trailer full of toys that were brought in by the Georgia State Patrol. I almost cried it was so sweet. This experience has opened a whole new door for me. Now, I know that I have more than most people have. I also know that there are less fortunate people in the state of Georgia, the United States of America and all over the world. Now, after doing Toys for Tots in 2017, I am going to keep doing it every year, even when I go off to college. It was a big deal and an even bigger experience. Thank you for the opportunity to do this.
Emma from Georgia – 13 years old”