Toys for Tots donations jumps to 17,000

Santa's helpers are helping to make sure every Central Alabama child has a present to open on Christmas morning. The Toys for Tots drive is full speed ahead {}with thousands of toys already filling boxes.The Toys for Tots boxes at Applebees around Birmingham are already filling up. Managers tell us they're getting more toys every couple of hours but there's still a long way to go before they reach the goal of 80,000.17,000 toys found a home in dozens of boxes from car dealerships, Applebees restaurants, and insurance agencies across the Birmingham metro."A lot of people are willing to donate and help out in any way they can so it's a positive attitude you can see as they come in through the doors," Sunil Patel, Manager, Applebees Hwy. 119 said.Applebees locations around Birmingham offered a bonus for anyone who comes in with a toy - $1.99 kids meals or free desserts!"As it airs more on TV we get a better response and a lot of people start coming in at the last minute - a lot of people go shopping and bring them in so it's been a great response," Patel said.Over at Ivan Leonard Chevrolet...."We've been doing it a little over a week now," Jon Seavers, Ivan Leonard Chevrolet said. "We've already filled up a box and we're hoping to fill up three or four more."{}Not only is Toys For Tots helping registered families, but they're also taking surprises to Children's of Alabama and giving toys to preteens."We were talking about how hard it is to buy for that age group so we were talking about sports, soccer balls, basketballs, things like that that can go for boys and girls of all ages," Amanda Christian, Moore and Moore Advertising said.{}And the pricetag doesn't matter..."It doesn't have to take a lot to give," Christian said. "It can be a $10 toy or a $20 toy - anything that fits your budget and if you have the budget for a bike, I know that would make a very special gift for a child."Thursday night, Santa will help bring in toy donations. He'll be at the Chad Christian Insurance Agency in Pelham on Highway 31 from 5 to 8. Families are asked to bring an unwrapped toy. Next Tuesday night, people at the Comedy Stardome must bring a toy to get in. And next thursday, "Lunch at Legacy BBQ" will help meet the Toys For Tots goal.{}


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