Last updated: July 17. 2013 1:21PM - 449 Views

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Rachel Dove-Baldwin

Staff Writer

WILLIAMSON - In 2011, the dedicated employees of the Williamson Memorial Hospital (WMH) donated and distributed over 500 Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in the Tug Valley area. This year, the goal of the WMH is to exceed this amount and with the assistance of the public, those involved with the toy drive are confident they will succeed.

“I was so proud of our employees for bringing in so many gifts last year,” stated April Toler-Mullins, who works as a Registered Nurse and is the organizer of the toy drive this year. “It was such a rewarding experience for me personally to know we helped to bring a smile to all of those children’s faces.”

“Christmas should be magical,” Mullins remarked. “Little ones don’t understand finances, nor do they think how much money their families have should affect what toy Santa brings them. We want them to have presents under their tree, not be broken hearted because they feel that Santa forgot them.”

Mullins, along with her fellow co-workers, is expanding their drive to include donations from community members in hopes of providing more children with Christmas gifts this year than ever before. Drop off locations will be at WMH, the Williamson Daily News, the Larry Joe Harless Center in Gilbert and the TMK Security office on U.S. 119, near the Rt. 65 Lenore exit.

The toy drive will accommodate children who attend Gilbert, Riverside, Southside, Kermit, Matewan, Lenore and Burch Elementary Schools, as well as several Head Start programs throughout the local area. Gifts will also be donated to the Tug Valley Recovery Shelter and to the Mingo County Office of the WV Department of Health and Human Resources (WVDHHR) for children who will be spending their holidays in foster care.

Mullins stated that the gifts will be wrapped by employees and volunteers as they sort them according to age and gender. They are requesting toys for all age groups, books, clothing, educational items, musical items, etc. All gifts must be dropped off at one of the above named locations no later than Friday, Dec. 8th in order to ensure adequate time for sorting, wrapping and delivery.

Contacts for the toy drive are Mullins, who may be reached by calling 304-899-6370, 304-475-3551 or 304-784-4459, or by email at aprildawnmullinsrn@gmail.com. You can also contact Jacqueline Atkins at 304-899-6104 or email her at jacqueline.atkins@hma.com.

“If you know a family with extraordinary circumstances this season who may have lost their home in a fire or who has experienced a serious illness or injury that has created financial problems, please feel free to call me at one of the listed numbers and we will do our very best to assist them,” said Mullins. “The Christmas holiday is meant to be a time of joy and laughter, and when certain situations and circumstances beyond our control occur, it can become a time of stress and worry.”

“We are hoping that with the support of those in the community who can afford to donate, along with businesses, groups and organizations who want to participate, we can take the stress away for several families as we make Christmas possible for their children.”

“We ask everyone to please donate at least one item that will be used to bring joy to a child on Christmas morning. You will surely be blessed for your generosity,” concluded Mullins.

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