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Every child deserves Christmas

By Staff
Rep. Ronald Grantland, Guest columnist
Let's make sure every child has Christmas this year.
For me, there is no better time of year than the Christmas season, a time to reflect on God's grace, and a time to enjoy good food and fellowship with family and friends.
The image that pops into everyone's mind when they think about Christmas is the happiness on the face of a child who has just received the gift that he or she really wanted. Is there anything more joyous than the excitement children feel on Christmas morning?
Unfortunately, many children around our state will not receive a visit from Santa this year. There will be no gifts on Christmas morning, and little happiness on that most special day.
Many kids are now residing in Alabama that were displaced by the hurricanes. For other children, a parent's job loss is enough to ruin what should be the most joyous day of the calendar. With Christmas getting close, I urge you to take a moment and remember all of Alabama's children who are in need.
We need to make sure every child can share in the Christmas magic.
The best way to reach out to those children in need is by donating to the Toys for Tots program. Toys for Tots is conducted by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, and its purpose is to collect unwrapped toys during the holiday season and distribute them as Christmas gifts to needy children in the communities around the country.
There are several Toys for Tots campaigns in Birmingham, Mobile, Huntsville and Montgomery and in counties across the state. Civic organizations, sports teams, companies, and many other groups have plugged into the Toy for Tots campaign, and have raised thousands of toys in Alabama.
Unfortunately this year, toy drives across the state have been short of their goals.
There have been many natural disasters during 2005, and many people have already given more to various charities than in years past. Not only were there hurricanes here, but there were tsunamis and earthquakes abroad, and the call to give was constant in 2005. Traditional charities like Toys for Tots sometimes have gone wanting because of donor fatigue.
So we need to dig down one more time to make sure Christmas is special for children in need. Not only is a shiny new toy given to a deserving child, a message of hope is given to youngsters in need that will motivate them to grow into responsible, productive, patriotic citizens and community leaders.
Though Christmas is only days away, it is not too late to buy a new toy and give it to Toys for Tots. Toys for Tots will take donations right up to a couple of days before Christmas. For more information, visit the Toys for Tots web site at www.toysfortots.org.
While we watch our children or grandchildren open their gifts, and see the joy in their faces, it would be a blessing to realize that we helped other less fortunate children experience that same joy.
And isn't that what Christmas is really all about?

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