A Christmas need comes early

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It is seven months until Christmas. There are no decorations, no Christmas sales, no Yuletide specials, no Christmas music on the radios … it’s too far away. Except for members of the Marine Corps League. They are already working toward and planning for Christmas.

Each year the members of the Sgt. Clyde Thomson Medal of Honor Detachment 1325, which serves Fayette and Coweta counties, raise money and collect toys — lots of toys — for children who might otherwise not have a Christmas at all. The Toys for Tots Program is a nationwide effort to insure that no child feels neglected or abandoned on Christmas morning.

Each year, between 5,500 and 6,500 children in these two counties have a Christmas because of Toys for Tots, the members of the Marine Corps League, and the citizens of the community. That takes a lot of effort, money, toys, and planning.

The Marine Corps League, composed of honorably discharged USMC veterans, U.S. Navy Corpsmen and U.S. Navy chaplains who have served with the Fleet Marine Force, is involved in a host of worthy projects but the Toys for Tots may be the most visible. Every year, usually from the start of the high school football season through the middle of December, things surge into high gear.

The local communities have always been helpful in donating toys, money, time … you name it. But this year, the Marine veterans are asking for something specific. And maybe you can help.

We need warehouse space. I mentioned those 5,500-6,500 kids. But the goal is to give each child at least three toys — more if we have them. That suddenly translates to between 16,500 and 19,500 toys that have to be stored until distribution. The Marine Corps League does not own storage space. In fact, the local detachment meets in a loaned church fellowship hall each month.

But that’s perfectly okay. The Marines are used to doing much with little. Their unofficial motto is “Improvise, adapt, and overcome.” During times of war, if the Marines needed space, they just took it. But this isn’t war and, except on the inside, the MCL members are no longer active warriors. So, they need your help if you can assist.

We need (yes, I am a member of the Marine Corps League) warehouse space of 2,000 – 3,000 sq. ft. We only need it from the week prior to Thanksgiving until about the third week in December. We have warehouse space in Fayette provided. We need this space to serve the children of Coweta County.

The MCL can’t pay you but, as a not-for-profit organization, we can give you a donation letter for the value of the use of the space. The real payoff comes in knowing that you help thousands of kids have a real Christmas. And that you can help thousands of parents see that their kids are not left out of the celebration that is Christmas morning.

Can you help the Marines? Are you a church, a business, an organization, or an individual that can meet this need? Do you have space available that you could donate to this worthy cause for a brief period of time?

If so, or if you have questions, please call Jeff White, our Toys for Tots coordinator, at 770-238-8614 or send him an email at southsidetoysfortots@gmail.com.

When our nation called, we stepped up. Now the children depend on us and, once again, we step up. We need your help. Will you step up? Christmas isn’t that far away. Be a hero.

[David Epps (USMC 1970-73) is the pastor of the Cathedral of Christ the King, Sharpsburg, GA between Newnan and Peachtree City (www.ctkcec.org). He is the bishop of the Charismatic Episcopal Diocese of the Mid-South which consists of Georgia and Tennessee (www.midsouthdiocese.org) and the Associate Endorser for the Department of the Armed Forces, U. S. Military Chaplains, ICCEC. He may contacted at bishopdavidepps@gmail.com.]