ALBANY, Ga. -- After a slow start, the annual Toys for Tots campaign closed strong in its final two weeks, meeting its goal of 4,000 toys, assuring many needy families of a Merry Christmas.
"Yes, we did meet our goal, in fact we surpassed it just a little," 1st Sgt. James Watson, the campaign's regional coordinator, said. "We were short two weeks ago, but we challenged the Albany and Dougherty communities and they stepped up and responded.
"We could not have done this without them. But once the call went out they responded and did so overwhelmingly."
The Toys for Tots campaign kicked off Oct. 21 and was lagging just two weeks ago when an appeal was made to the community -- which answered strongly.
"I was very surprised by the community's response," Watson said. "I did not expect the overwhelming support that came forth. It's fantastic.
"But the biggest thing is this is for the kids. It's always been about the kids, now they'll have a good Christmas."
Toys for Tots is the largest Department of Defense outreach program. It serves as an avenue for the U.S. Marine Corps, charity organizations and the community to provide toys for underprivileged children.
To date, the cause has distributed more than 400 million toys to roughly 190 million children.