Photo by Kathy Jefcoats Jeff Turner (center) and Glenneta Griffin (left) present cash donations to Gerald Bostock and Debbie Stinson, volunteers with CASA and Ambassadors Behind CASA.
A special early delivery to a Jonesboro law firm, Monday morning, will help Santa ensure that as many children in relatives care as possible will have at least three presents under the Christmas tree.
Dolls and balls, cars and trucks, and noise-making gadgets, were hauled in bags and boxes into the Glaze and Glaze Law Firm. The donated items will be sorted through and packaged up for delivery to children served by Clayton County's Court Appointed Special Advocates program.
This is the fifth year that former Clayton County Police Chief Jeff Turner has headed up the toy drive, partnered with Positive Press PR.
"We put out the call to citizens, and they responded," said Turner. "We appreciate their support. It's not too late to help. We are still accepting warm clothes, shoes, coats and stuff for teenagers."
Greater Works Missionary Baptist Church, in Forest Park, called back to ask for more boxes for their donations, and Five Loaves of Bread has made a donation, said Turner.
Other sponsors include Heritage Cadillac, Crane Hardware, Clayton Countys Tax Assessors Office and Juvenile Court, and Hewett and Associates.
The toys will be disseminated Saturday.
"Everyone steps up to the plate," Turner said. "This is for the kids."
The Ambassador Behind CASA group will make sure the kids are taken care of, Turner said, adding that he hopes to have enough to provide at least three gifts for about 150 kids. The children who benefit from the donations are in the custody of relatives, mostly grandparents, to keep them out of the foster care system. In Clayton County, Kinship Care is the agency that coordinates "grandparents raising grandchildren."
Jane Glaze volunteers for CASA and the ambassador group. "We tell them to list three things they really want for Christmas," she said. "A number of kids ask for coats, pajamas and underwear, just basic necessities. They don't even ask for toys."
In addition to the children the volunteers already know about, Glaze said 10 to 15 are added at the last minute. Their needs, too, are met.
A spaghetti dinner was held last week for Kinship Care's grandparents. Gifts were given out, and kids played games, said Glaze. "We found out that someone had just taken in a baby who had nothing," she said. "We got them what they needed immediately, before they went home."
CASA's Gerald Bostock said without these donations, many of the children would get nothing for Christmas. "These are kids who would be seriously waking up on Christmas Day without gifts, without the support of the community," he said. "They deserve to wake up like any other kids, and find gifts on Christmas Day, if that's their faith."
Glaze agreed, adding that the children shouldn't be punished for the circumstances of their families. "We want them to be a child, to not have their innocence taken away," she said. "So they can still enjoy the wonder of Christmas, to know that Santa will still come visit them."
Toys, clothes new or lightly worn and cash are still being accepted. Call (770) 477-3268, to make a donation.