Toys for Tots in full swing in Miss-Lou

Published 12:05 am Monday, November 16, 2015

The resurgence of the United States Marine Corps Reserve’s “Toys for Tots” campaign is in full swing in the Natchez/Vidalia area.

For more than sixty years, it has been the mission of the campaign to collect new, unwrapped toys and gifts for distribution to less fortunate children who would not have been able to enjoy the awe and wonder of the magical Christmas season.

Believing that “every child deserves a good Christmas,” the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Foundation is authorized to fundraise as a 501c3 not-for-profit charity (#EN120-30214).

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On March 12, 2016, Natchez Children’s Home (NCHS) will celebrate its 200th anniversary of offering second chances and better choices to thousands of abused, neglected and at-risk children. Its services today include a Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) where alleged victims of sexual and physical assault, neglect or witnesses to a violent crime are forensically interviewed and recorded, so the traumatic account is told only once.

A multi-disciplinary team — because it takes a village to raise a child — comprised of law enforcement, child protection, medical, mental health, prosecution and victim advocates observes the interview on closed circuit television and determines how the case should move forward. The child is provided with follow-up counseling, court preparation, and victim’s assistance — clothing, transportation, and help for the extended family as needed.

The NCHS CAC maintains forensic services to five counties in SW Mississippi — Jefferson, Franklin, Wilkinson, Claiborne, and Adams. Multi-disciplinary teams are trained and supported in each county.

Thus, the response to child maltreatment in our area has been revolutionized to ensure sensitivity, protection and healing for the child and more efficient prosecution of the abuser.

It has been said that “kindness is the true revealer of a person’s character.” Natchez is renowned for its hospitality, generosity and kindness.

Toys for Tots volunteers have been canvassing the community soliciting the support of area businesses. You will see TFT donation boxes strategically placed near the entrance of each of the following participating businesses: Natchez Convention Center, Natchez Manor, Armstrong Library, The Natchez Democrat, Hotel Vue, Dairy Queen, Papa John’s, Sports Center, Enterprise Rentals, Cash Savers, The Markets (Natchez and Vidalia), Co-Lin Natchez, Shoney’s, Sango, Wendy’s, along with cash box donations at Darby’s and Farmer’s Market.

Please give generously and reach deserving children throughout SW Mississippi with your Toys for Tots support. Merry Christmas!


Diane Prater-Smith is a Toys for Tots volunteer.