Coweta and Fayette Toys for Tots to include Heard County


Honorees at the Toys for Tots dinner are, from left, front, Emily Shepherd, Pamela Shepherd, Frances Todd, Jackie Young, Sherry Williams and Lee Norman; back, Ben Dissmore, Robb Williams, Jeff Todd, Coweta Toys for Tots Director Hank Berkowitz, Roger Ralston, Jerry Robinette, Billy Thomasson and Gary Ivey.

Coweta’s Toys for Tots teamed up with Fayette County’s program for the Christmas season 2012 and is adding Heard County for 2014, according to Hank Berkowitz, director of the local effort.
Berkowitz addressed a group of volunteers at an awards dinner Feb. 9 at the American Legion in Newnan.
Some years ago, toy donations to Toys for Tots left Coweta County and went to children in other metro counties. Hank Berkowitz worked the Marine political machine to keep Coweta’s donations in Coweta.
Coweta has now teamed with Fayette County.
“We served 1,925 children in Coweta County and 2,400 in Fayette County,” he said. “Because Fayette County had so many donations, they shared with us. We have an over-abundance every year and we’re going to take on Heard County this coming year. Let’s share,” he said.
The local team is working extra hard to register children who are “medically fragile,” he said.

The all-volunteer agency puts huge boxes at all of the fire stations and in businesses. Then volunteers empty the boxes every few days and they are taken to a warehouse where they are sorted by age-appropriateness. As children are registered, the toys are put in bags and taken to the American Legion where volunteers collect and deliver them. It is Berkowitz’s goal to someday have the gifts delivered on fire trucks with Santa in his full outfit, accompanied by Marines in dress blues.

Monetary donations are also sought because Toys for Tots allows toys only. Funds raised go toward the purchase of gifts for young teens.

All money and gift donations are inventoried and are audited by the Marines before, during and after each drive.

Some of the award recipients commented on their “enjoyable grind.”

Jerry Robinette said, “We had a fantastic transportation group this year. We picked up over 4,000 toys from organizations and businesses, and trying to find 16 fire stations was tough enough!”

Gary Ivey helped raise funds. He said, “When I was growing up, I lived in the projects in Atlanta. My dad lost his job. I remember Toys for Tots and want to give back.”

Another volunteer commented, “I wouldn’t have done anything else. This is so much of my life. I’m blessed to be able to help. In the middle of October, my family doesn’t see me anymore until Christmas. If I didn’t help, I would feel lost.”

Toys for Tots is a nationwide program that was created in 1947. There are 750 campaigns for Toys for Tots nationwide.

Berkowitz concluded that the program is two-way.

“We give to the children and they give us thanks. We may not always hear the word ‘thanks,’ but you can see it in their eyes.”

More Local

Oct. 5 is Voter Registration Deadline

Today (Monday) is the deadline to register to vote in the Nov. 3 municipal elections. If you’re already registered to vote, you don&r ... Read More

Man found guilty of child molestation, enticement

A man with two previous arrests for rape was convicted Tuesday of molesting a child. It took a jury only a few hours to convict Randy Hunter ... Read More

Seizure-plagued Grantville woman’s health dramatically improves with CBD

Stacy Wilson has suffered from severe seizures since she was 4 years old. All those years of tonic-clonic (formerly known as “grand ma ... Read More

Piedmont Newnan thwarts talk of urgent care plans

Despite information presented by Piedmont Newnan Hospital executives to Coweta business and industry officials last summer, hospital represe ... Read More

First Coweta recipients of REACH scholarship recognized

Two Coweta eighth graders were recognized by Georgia first lady Sandra Deal, as they became the first recipients in the Coweta County School ... Read More

Emissions scandal affects VW stocks

The U.S. Environmental Protection Division has had the technology to identify citizens falsifying emissions tests for the past 10 years, but ... Read More