PEARL, MS (WLBT) –The corporate community came together to help the Marines Corps Reserve reach their Toys for Tots goal on Wednesday.
Those generous donations allowed the Marines to go on a shopping spree to fill thousands of Christmas wish lists.
In less than two hours, 10 marines and General Mills volunteer shoppers roamed the aisles of the toy section of Pearl's Walmart.
"I assigned each marine an age and a gender of the toys he's gonna shop for," said USMC First Sergeant Seth Miller.
They filled 30 shopping carts with toys for tots.
With more than $10,000.00 in cash, Miller ordered the marines to make Christmas wishes come true.
"The money that has been donated from the community we use that money to buy toys to fill the void in what we didn't receive in donations," said Miller.
The marine corps works with the Salvation Army to provide toys to needy children.
This year requests were up 70%.
Walmart, General Mills and Coca Cola helped them to reach their goal of 40,000 children's gifts.
"It's tough for everybody in this time right now so it's something we felt we needed to do to help somebody out, said Jimmy Pace spokesman for the Pearl Walmart.
"We worked with Walmart and they purchased product, and we raised $5,000.00," said General Mills representative Donna Boudreaux.
The marines help load Santa's sleigh with dolls, games, stuffed animals, DVD's and more, gifts to make happy Christmas memories.
Jimmy Pace presented the Marine Corps Toys for Tots Program a check for $7,500.00 on behalf of the corporations.
There were more than 22,000 requests for toys.
"We're Coca Cola. We're connected to the community. You can't ask for anything better than a bunch of marines shopping for children right now before Christmas, can you?", asked Coca Cola representative Tom Swanson.
The last cart full of toys added up to more than $1,700.00.
Caring marines, also known as Santa's helpers, put all the gifts into large plastic bags.
They were then placed into a seven ton military truck and on to the next leg of their secret mission for Old Saint Nick.
Former professional wrestler Ted Dibiase "The Million Dollar Man" and his son, WWE wrestler Ted Junior, are helping with the final marine toy drive.
They will sign autographs and take pictures Thursday at Belk's in Dogwood Festival from five to seven p.m.
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