'Tis the season for giving and our area did a remarkable job of sharing the joy this Christmas. Toys for Tots of Northeast Missouri will provide toys for 1,350 children this holiday season.  The distribution is going on now until Saturday at the Admiral Coontz Recreation Center in Hannibal. Each child will receive three toys in addition to stocking stuffers and books.

About 500 low-income families qualified for Toys for Tots assistance in Marion, Ralls, Pike and Lewis Counties.  During the distribution, the Salvation Army will provide 850 food baskets.

The U.S. Marine Corps Reserve sponsors the Toys for Tots program, with help locally from Douglass Community Services and Hannibal Parks & Recreation.

Stacey Nicholas is director of Community Outreach Initiatives at Douglass Community Services and co-coordinator of Toys for Tots, “Nothing is more affirming than a child who believes in the miracle of Christmas," Nicholas said.  "We are so very  thankful for the community for stepping up and donating all the toys that make Christmas special for children in the area.”

The local Toys for Tots drive had the help of Americorps Corporation for National and Community Services workers for nine weeks, organizing toy drives and keeping inventory of toys.

There were coin cans and donation boxes in Bowling Green, Canton, Center, Eolia, Ewing, Hannibal, LaGrange, Lewistown, Louisiana, Monroe City, New London, Palmyra, Perry, Shelbina and West Quincy.

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