MOULTRIE – On Tuesday, Colquitt County School System social workers were as busy as Santa’s elves, distributing toys from the Children’s Cheer and Toy Shop.
“The Colquitt County School social workers — AKA ‘The Elf Squad’ — are the team that works year-round to bag over 1,800 bags in preparation for the Distribution Day,” said Angie Kling, director of the organization.
The Children’s Cheer and Toy Shop was founded in one of the business spaces in the Belk Plaza Shopping Center in 1988, with Harvie Ann Cox as its first director and then Denise Pope and now, Kling.
“Our community rallies together to make the Children’s Cheer and Toy Shop what it is today. There are so many community members that have volunteered, worked on the Children’s Cheer and Toy Shop board, or have given money,” said Kling.
This year, Kling said, there were approximately 1,600 applicants signed up and the shop was able to provide three new toys to children between the ages of 2 and 13, who would otherwise not have gifts for Christmas.
“We’re prepared for a bit more than that,” said Kling.
Volunteers, both school-aged and adults, helped the social workers with the distribution of toys from the packed shelves at the former National Guard armory.
April Strickland, the social worker for Funston Elementary School, has been helping with the Children’s Cheer and Toy Shop for ten years. She said, “I wish that I could be a fly on the wall to see their faces.”
Members of C.A. Gray Middle School Gentleman’s Club were also there volunteering to take the gifts out to the parents that were picking-up.
“It feels good to help other people. It’s just a good opportunity to help other people,” said Nelly Grant, 14, a member of the Gentleman’s Club.
Over the years, this organization has distributed hundreds of bags of toys to qualified families. It also helps during times of disaster — like when there is a house fire — and will give blankets and toys to these families in need throughout the year.
“It’s all about the children,” said Lisa Clarke Hill, social worker for the high school and city councilwoman.
To contribute toys or make a monetary donation to the Children’s Cheer and Toy Shop, contact any Colquitt County School social worker or email email@example.com.