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Community steps up for Toys for Tots
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Thanks to area agencies, students and the community, Toys for Tots was able to meet its goal this year of giving 6,000 toys to needy children in the Gainesville and Hall County community.

In early November, a partnership was developed between the Leadership Hall County Class of 2009-10, United Way of Hall County and the U.S. Marine Corps League to support the local Toys for Tots Foundation drive. More than 150 donation boxes were put out throughout the area, but organizers realized last week that not enough toys and gifts had been collected.

Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce members who were coordinating the drive sent out e-mails and made calls throughout the business community seeking contributions and toys. And the community responded. People dropped off checks, employees pooled cash and others dashed from work to shop for toys, meeting the goal of 6,000 toys.

The local efforts also got some help from a class at Gainesville State College, which collected more than 500 toys.

George Danns, a member of the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce Leadership Hall County class and Gainesville State College professor, challenged his students in an Introduction to Social Problems class to collect toys for the needy as a class project.

"My class spearheaded a toy drive on campus which yielded in excess of 500 toys for boys and girls of all ages," Danns said.

"I am delighted that the initiative by this class has made such a significant contribution to a worthy cause that would bring cheer to vulnerable kids and their families at Christmas.

"The students were very appreciative that Greater Hall Chamber representatives and several colleagues from Leadership Hall County took the time to recognize their effort."

Last week, toys from the drive were distributed to Friends of Recovery, Gateway Domestic Violence Center, Boys & Girls Clubs of Hall County, Hall County Foster Kids, and The Salvation Army.