As December creeps closer and closer, it’s all hands on deck for Toys of Tots as they prepare to start collecting toys.

“It’s crunch time for Toys for Tots. We will be working everyday to get our toys together,” coordinator Linda Hatcher said.

The Rome Exchange Club has been in charge of the Toys for Tots program since 2012, when they took efforts over from the Marine Corps League. Since then, they have partnered with over 200 businesses to collect toys, stocking stuffers and books for 2,000 local children. On average, the Exchange Club collects around 6,000 to 7,000 toys each year.

“We cover Floyd and Chattooga County as well as Cedartown and Rockmart,” Hatcher said.

The organization will be set up at the Coosa Valley Fairgrounds at 1400 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., unpacking truckloads of toys and sorting through the various donations.

The Exchange Club is asking for volunteers to come to the fairgrounds and help the organization set up for the distribution date on Dec. 14.

That Saturday, members of the Rome High School JROTC and their instructor Master Sergeant Keith Thrash will be assisting the club in the distribution of the toys from 8 a.m. to noon.

Those who are receiving toys will enter the fairgrounds and pull into the parking lot “as if you were going to the fair.”

Families will receive a number upon arriving and when that number is called out, the families will receive their bags of toys. Volunteers will then load up the family’s car with the bags. The families can not open their bags until they arrive home.

Cedartown and Rockmart families will be receiving their toys and donations on Dec. 18.

The Marine Corps League will be providing food and beverage to the children and volunteers.

After the distribution events, volunteers will break down the setup and clean the fairgrounds, community building and village building. Any remaining toys will be distributed to local charities and nonprofit organizations.

Anyone interested in volunteering is asked to contact Linda Hatcher at 706-506-4635 or by email at rometoys@gmail.com.

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