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'Just to see the smiles'

By Daniel Silliman

dsilliman@news-daily.com

There's just something about the season, Rosalind Sconiers said, that even grumpy, grouchy people like to give at Christmas.

"People always want to give around Christmas time. I don't care if it's the most uptight person -- It's like, 'Whoa!' but you know, they remember what it was like when they were kids. They remember what Christmas is like when you're a kid. And that's their way of saying they're not a Grinch."

Sconiers is calling on the community, even the repentant Grinchs, to donate toys in the annual Toys for Tots drive, the Marine Corps effort to "deliver, through a shinny new toy at Christmas, a message of hope."

Last year, Sconiers helped organize the delivery of 1,200 toys to underprivileged and needy children in the Southern Crescent. This year, there's an economic crisis.

"This year, there's a big demand, because everybody's losing jobs. There are lay offs, job cuts, and people losing their homes ... but every child should have at least one toy at Christmas. This year, we're hoping to bring, I hope, eight thousand toys, and we're also looking for donations of turkey and ham," Sconiers said.

The woman isn't alone, though. The Marine Corps toy program on the Southside is being supported and sponsored by: Angels in Paradise; The Process Resource Center for Religion and Science; Church Growth Ministries; Clayton Adolescent Center; Daskin Institution; Inspiring Body Works Organization, Inc.; Prodigal Sons And Daughters; Safe Haven Transitional, Inc.; Youth Striving for Excellence; and The Move of God Miracle Cathedral, Inc.

Parents who need help getting toys for their children can register on Saturday, Nov. 8, at The Move of God Miracle Cathedra, in Riverdale, at A8 Flint River Road. To register, Toys for Tots require a birth certificate, a social security card for the child, proof of residence, proof of income, and the parents' identification.

The children are not told the toys are from the organization, but that they're from the parents or from Santa Claus, Sconiers said.

"A popular toy for a little kid, is a tricycle, and we try to focus on the educational toys, too," the woman said.

Older children can be more difficult, and the organization hopes to have some gift cards to give away.

"Whatever people give us, we're going to accept and it makes a big difference," Sconiers said, "just to see the smiles on the kids' faces."