‘Toys for Joy’ project proves to be huge success

Rachel Baldwin rbaldwin@civitasmedia.com

December 25, 2013

Rachel Baldwin


WILLIAMSON - A magical event that was recently held at the Williamson Field House ensured that hundreds of area children received Christmas presents this year, and helped to ease the worry and stress of a lot of parents.

April Mullins, who chaired the event, remarked that all of the hard work it took to put on the event was well worth it when the volunteers seen the smiles on the faces of the children who were chose to be recipients of the gifts, and said that there is no greater sound in the world than the laughter of a child.

“I have so many individuals, organizations, groups and churches to thank that I don’t know where to begin,” said Mullins. “We were truly blessed beyond measure that so many stepped forward for this very worthwhile event.”

Mullins and her group worked with the area schools and received lists of children who were considered in need that included their clothing sizes, as well as a toy they wished for. With her helpers in place, the work began to raise funding to purchase the presents, as well as collecting donations and toys from those willing to lend a hand.

On Dec. 18, approximately 700 people gathered at the Fieldhouse as they watched Santa Claus exiting a Healthnet/AirEvac helicopter that landed on the Left Hamilton Field, along with a couple of his Christmas elves. After greeting the crowd, Santa took a seat and spent the entire evening getting hugs and kisses while the children sat on his lap and told them their wishes and wants. Photographs were taken of all of the children who took time out for a visit with Santa and will be delivered to the schools and daycares after the first part of the New Year, at no cost.

Businesses and organizations generously agreed to sponsor four large inflatables that were the highlight of the evening for most of the children. From the time they arrived through the door until the event concluded, the inflatables were a hot commodity. Each child in attendance received a present and those who were unable to attend were having their gifts delivered to the school they attend. This included children who are residing or have resided at the Tug Valley Recovery Shelter.

“There are no words that could be said by me to adequately express the depths of my gratitude and thanks for all those who helped us. Whether you stood in the road during a tag day with a sign and a bucket and collected money, helped with fundraiser dinners and sales, served as a drop off location for our toys, helped decorate, gave money or donated a toy or your time - thank you so very much!” Mullins said. “”This was a community effort that ended up being a wonderful evening. I’m sure these children will not forget the fun they had for a long time to come, and we plan to repeat this next year, only make it bigger and better than before.”