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Operation Toy Box Ready To Make A Special Holiday Run For Children

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WENDELL — Tornadoes ripped paths as long as eight football fields Saturday near Tuscaloosa, Alabama. A local disaster relief agency that focuses completely on children is concerned about families who may not have toys for the holidays. Operation Toy Box is on stand-by, hoping to make a special "toy trip."

Christy Sanderson is the founder of Operation Toy Box. Her warehouse in Wendell is well stocked.

"We have, on hand, clean, stuffed animals, for children three and under and also four and up, and then we have games, books, puzzles and videos for children," she says.

For the past five years, Operation Toy Box has brought relief to children in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, North Dakota, Florida, and now, Alabama.

"We have a new sense of urgency to make sure those kids are able to have a proper Christmas, to have a joyous Christmas, even after their homes may have been taken away from them," she says. "We will find a way to ship those toys out."

Sanderson connects with a local trucking company whenever Operation Toy Box is called to action.

"Whatever the total amount is, they'll donate half of that cost, but it's up to Operation Toy Box to find the other half," she says.

Sanderson has been working the phones most of the day, drumming up support because she knows the operation makes a difference.

"There is no way to replace what a child has lost after a disaster, but what we're trying to do is help them rebuild, give them a new start and provide them with smiles to help get them through this difficult time," she says.

Sanderson expects to find out if Alabama Disaster Relief officials would like some assistance from Operation Toy Box. If you would like to support this organization financially or with your time by volunteering, call919-366-0049.

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Pam Saulsby, Reporter
Rick Armstrong, Photographer
Kamal Wallace, Web Editor

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