JONESBORO — Hundreds of toys, games and bikes were presented to Ambassador’s Behind CASA Tuesday.
The Clayton County Court Appointed Special Advocates program is comprised of community volunteers appointed “by a judge to speak up for the best interests of children involved in juvenile court deprivation proceedings,” according to claytoncasa.com.
The Christmas gifts are a culmination of donations from Clayton Board of Commission Chairman Jeff Turner’s Holiday Toy Drive and Fundraiser as well as additional toys and monetary donations from various county agencies and citizens.
Jane Horton, secretary for ABC, said when a child is removed from a home by the Department of Family and Children Services, they will go in search of a family member who can care for them.
“It’s usually a grandparent that gets the children,” Horton said. “Suddenly, they have more kids to take care of.”
Grandparents and their families will be treated to breakfast at Longhorn’s Steakhouse Saturday, where they will receive a $100 gift card.
Saturday afternoon, families will begin arriving to pick up bagged Christmas gifts. The toys are given based on a wish list the children made. Horton said they do their best to purchase all three items on the list.
“We do whatever is necessary to get that child what they want,” Horton said. “We have just wonderful support.”
Carol Gossett, director of CASA, said when grandparents pull up to collect the toys, “their eyes just light up. My heart just explodes.”
Turner said it’s an honor and privilege to do the annual toy drive.
“This wouldn’t have been possible without Clayton County citizens,” Turner said. “They have the county’s children’s best welfare at heart. We’ll continue to do this each year.”
He said it feels good to have a number of groups coming together.
“Christmas is about a time of giving and we are really fortunate,” he said.
This year, the program will make sure nearly 200 children have something under the tree Christmas morning.