Lilly Lanier, 6-year-old daughter of Michael and Heather Lanier of Newton, decided to donate all her new toys received at her birthday party to Toys for Tots. The Marine Corps Reserve program provides new, unwrapped toys for children who need them.
NEWTON, Ga. -- She's not quite six, but knows how fortunate she is aware of the needs of other people. Lilly Lanier, daughter of Michael and Heather Lanier of Newton, is a "Christmas baby," born on the nineteenth day of December. Because of the nearness to that major time of gift-giving, her birthday has typically been obscured, said Heather Lanier. Until this year.
A regular old-fashioned birthday party was planned, with a hamburger lunch and children bringing presents. Even Santa decided to drop by. But a few days previous to the event Lilly surprised her mom, declaring she'd like to give her toys away to some other children less fortunate than her.
"I was shocked," Heather Lanier said. "She didn't use the name, but I guess she had heard of Toys for Tots at school."
According to Lilly's mom, there had been some earlier discussion with the kindergartner about how fortunate she is -- and that some children didn't have much for Christmas, or even both their parents. That seemed to really affect her.
So, representatives of the Toys for Toys Foundation were contacted and a pickup of some fifty new toys was arranged for Lilly's birthday party at Newton Baptist Church on Saturday. She'd been given enough time to upwrap her presents and to thank those who had given them to her.
"I got really jumpy and excited about it," Lilly Lanier said. "I had plenty of toys so I decided to give all my toys away to other kids so they could have Christmas and they could be happy."
Sgt. Staci Ball and Lance Cprl. Nik Bentley, from the Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany said they were impressed by the generosity of someone as young as Lilly.
"Really, it's not heard of that often," Bentley said. "I think its a great lesson to be learned, for her to be able to think of others, It says a lot about her and her parents."
Toys for Tots is a program of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. According to organization sources, the goal of Toys for Tots is to deliver -- through a new, unwrapped toy at Christmas -- a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters that will assist them in becoming responsible, productive, patriotic citizens.