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‘Giving a kid the chance to have fun’
Locals pitch in for Marine Corps toy drive
Toys for Tots
John Kirkpatrick, right, hands firefighter Nathan Head a toy Friday during the Marine Corps Toys for Tots drive at Walmart in Cumming. - photo by Jim Dean

Carter Lanier toted a carton of new toys Friday afternoon, trailing behind father Mitch who hoisted a large bag filled with kids’ stuff over his own head. The two walked toward a group of grinning policemen bundled up for a chilly December day.

Coloring books, toy cars, battery-operated gadgets and good, old-fashioned stuffed animals of all variety brimmed from toy bins Friday in the Walmart parking lot in Cumming, where law enforcement and firefighter personnel took part in the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program.

Cpl. Jody Caldwell of the Georgia State Patrol said “it feels good” to be part of the effort.

“It’s a wonderful experience when you get to come out [and help] with the sheriff’s office and the fire department and be around the wonderful people from Forsyth County. 

Added Caldwell: “It’s Christmastime and a lot of people are giving today.”

Mitch Lanier said he and his son went inside Walmart first to purchase the items, which they later donated.

“This is a good time to teach my boy here about the spirit of Christmas … the true spirit of Christmas is giving a kid the chance to have fun,” Lanier said. “Some of these kids wouldn’t even have a Christmas if there weren’t great efforts like this out there to brighten their days.”

Jim and Nancy Bowen of Forsyth County also brought toys to the event Friday.

“Just the fact of what they’re doing to help children made us want to help,” Jim Bowen said. “We appreciate everything that law enforcement and first responders do for us.”

Susan Roberts of Johns Creek shopped the aisles of the department store on Friday and wasn’t aware of the toy drive until she saw law enforcement and firefighters standing out in the parking lot.

“Goodness, it’s cold out there, and they’re out there doing such a good thing,” Roberts said. “God bless them for this. I’m going to go buy something wonderful right now to give to a child … the best thing I can find in that store — I’m going to buy that.”

Sgt. Carlton Roach worked alongside Caldwell Friday.

“I’m having a good time … some people bring something in … others go inside and shop for something, then donate it. We also accept monetary donations.”

Those who weren’t able to attend or contribute to the toy drive Friday can bring monetary donations to the Georgia State Patrol Post 37 location at 4055 County Way, Cumming.

Checks can be made out to marine Toys for Tots Foundation. The cut-off date to drop off toys or monetary donations at Post 37 Cumming is Dec. 20.