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Five hundred. That's the number of children whose Christmas prospects were improved this year because of Toys for Tots and Toys for Kids.
We are a giving community, but we're also an active community with many active participants. All the giving in the world does not necessarily compute to a good project. But we're blessed to have a couple of great coordinators - Sharon Dobson at the fire departments and Denise Gupton at Rescue.
Oh, sure, there are many others who contribute to the success of one of our community's greatest outreach projects, but those two people make sure all the right buttons are pushed.
Without organization no project of this scope would ever see the light of day.
Unless you've volunteered to undertake such a project, you'll never know the countless hours of list making - and checking it twice - that goes into elevating Christmas for so many.
A sleigh full of thanks goes to our full-time fire and Rescue personnel and the volunteers they recruit to help deliver the Christmas gifts. But thanks should also go to Commonwealth Broadcasting and The Big Dawg for their efforts in helping raise awareness and money - allowing the shoppers to do the best job they can do.
And, there's always the unexpected. When a fire destroyed the home of David Newcomb and Miranda Gadberry on Christmas Eve that didn't mean that Breanna Newcomb didn't get a visit from Santa. Toys for Kids jumped in and made sure of that.
We can all share the warm feeling one gets from doing something really important for those less fortunate. But we need to recognize the enablers - the people who make sure that 500 children can receive a better Christmas during of few hours of delivery on Christmas Eve.
Next time you see Denise, Sharon or one of their elves, make sure you extend your thanks because they are the ones who delivered the message that our community cares.