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The Marines need your help

David Epps's picture

U. S. Marines are usually thought of as hard-charging, tough, relentless warriors who, when necessary, wage war and wreak havoc and destruction upon all who oppose freedom.

But try telling that to the children, who see another side of these tough leathernecks around Christmas time. During this time of the year, Marines lend a helping hand to Santa and bring joy and toys to millions of children.

Since 1947, Marines, active, reserve, and veterans have participated in The Marine Corps Toys for Tots program, an IRS-recognized 501(c)(3) not-for-profit charity.

Locally, the program is coordinated by the Marine Corps League, Clyde Thomason Detachment 1325, serving Coweta and Fayette Counties.

The mission of the U. S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots Program is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to needy children in the community. In 2009, the program received support from Michelle Obama, who placed the first collection box at the White House.

The Fayette/Coweta Toys for Tots campaign for the 2011 Christmas holiday officially kicked off on Oct. 28 with the first annual “Touchdowns and Toys” at Fayette County High School before the Fayette County vs. Sandy Creek football game. Fans were asked to bring new unwrapped toys or monetary donations for collection at the entrance gates. It’s a good start but more is needed.

The toy collection campaign will continue through Dec. 18 at many local businesses and organizations throughout Fayette and Coweta Counties. A complete listing of toy collection sites, volunteering opportunities and request for assistance can be found on a website at

Donors can also make monetary donations at that website or mail checks payable to Toys for Tots to 1029 Peachtree Parkway North, Suite 133, Peachtree City, GA 30269. Monetary donations are used to purchase toys for local children. Requests for assistance can be made on the website and will be closed on Dec. 9 so the toys can be delivered before Christmas.

Last year Fayette/Coweta Toys for Tots provided toys to over 4,000 children in our two counties. The need is expected to be even greater this year. Nationally, as of 2009, the Toys for Tots Program and Foundation has collected and distributed almost 500 million toys. Questions may be addressed to

For 236 years, the Marines have given their all to help keep America free. Normally, they need no one’s help. But, for the sake of the children, they are asking for yours. This season, help the Marines make this Christmas a merry one for thousands of local children. Be a hero. Semper fi.

[Father David Epps is the pastor of Christ the King Church, 4881 Hwy. 34 E., Sharpsburg, GA 30277. Services are held Sundays at 8:30 and 10 a.m. ( He is also the Jr. Vice Commandant of the Clyde Thomason Detachment 1325, Marine Corps League. He may be contacted at]

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