JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Right now, Toys for Tots is 43,000 toys short of where they want to be. But they might even be further behind if it weren't for the help of one very compassionate eight-year-old girl from Pelahatchie.
Bethani Grace Alman, an East Rankin Academy student, says the 17,000 toys that have been collected so far are not enough for the 30,000 families who have signed up for Toys for Tots. "We need a lot more," she says.
Bethani Grace first volunteered to collect Toys for Tots last year. The sheer number of children in need touched her heart. This year, along with sorting collected toys and making television appearances to get the word out, she also helped organize a concert this week, where everyone was asked to bring an unwrapped toy.
"We need baby dolls, we can have dress up, Barbie dolls, all of the other stuff, footballs, crafts," she says of some of the toys being collected.
"We wouldn't be where we are right now if it weren't for her, to be honest with you," says 1st Sergeant Seth Miller, who is spearheading the Toys for Tots effort in the Jackson area.
Boxes of toys have already been taken to the Jackson Convention Center, where families who applied for Toys for Tots will pick them up this Saturday.
But as Sergeant Miller tells us, organizers are making an 11th hour plea for more help.
"Our goal is to give each child three toys. If we have to, we'll scale back to one toy per child. That's the worst case scenario," he says. "Give up the Starbucks for a couple of days, give up a day of lunch. Instead of buying a $10 or $15 lunch, go buy a $10 or $15 toy and drop it in a box.
Friday is a big pick-up day for Toys for Tots. The Marines will be going to government agencies, business, and other places that have been doing toy drives of their own. But don't forget, you can still drop off new and unwrapped toys at Walmart, Walgreens, or Sonic.
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