Here’s just a small view of some of the people involved in preparing for the annual Christmas toy giveaway… and a look at what we have ready for this year. There is SO much preparation and work that hits into this event and we want too thank everyone involved for giving so much to help so many! In Scott county 359 families were served with a total of 914 children.
In Morgan County 159 families were served with a total 335 children.
Thanks to Brandon Kreis American Legion Post 149 and to all who gave to the WECO Radiothon 35 families received a monetary gift to help with Christmas dinner.
Christmas gifts for about 500 Morgan County children were picked up thanks to the culmination of charitable work coming together for the Morgan-Scott Project.
The first wave of community members receiving donations from the Morgan-Scott Project make their rounds through the gift tables.
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More than 150 families piled into the Sunbright United Methodist Church Thursday morning to collect toys, clothes, books and other items as part of the donations gathered by the organization.
“I hope you can tell by the look on my face that I am just thrilled and excited,” said Morgan-Scott Project Executive Director Ella Smith just moments before the distribution began. “We have so much more stuff to give away than usual. I feel extremely blessed.”
Smith said she estimates the amount of donations given out this year to be about twice that of what is usually given out.
“Over the last two weeks we have been getting gifts from various churches across East Tennessee,” she said. “Yesterday we had 26 volunteers who worked eight hours putting it all out and going through it.”
Each child received one gift valued at more than $10, one valued at less than $10, a new pair of shoes and one clothing item. Families were also able to browse a slew of used books and used clothing items that did not have a limit on what could be taken. Older children received Visa gift cards in lieu of toys and the other items.
Smith added that the barcodes on the items have been marked out, so the toys can’t be returned or exchanged.
Additionally, several bicycles were given to every 15th child in line or to children with special needs, Smith said.
With the help of nearly 30 volunteers each family was walked through the line with one shopper to facilitate the process.
“What motivates me to do this is remembering my childhood and remembering how special it is to get a gift,” Smith said. “As I grew older I learned that Christ is our greatest gift, and we are doing this in his memory and honor. It gives me chill bumps to think about it.”
Smith said the donation was made possible by funds raised through the recent American Legion-sponsored radiothon, and a collection of donations coming from churches inside and out of the area, including one from Huntsville, Ala. The items that were left after the distribution were used for the Scott County distribution on Sunday, Smith said.
“I feel very blessed that my organization was able to do this,” Smith said. “I am extremely blown out of the water by what the American Legion, WECO and Sexton-Ford has done to provide for us. This is going to be the best Christmas I’ve ever worked with.”