Christmas may be twenty-six days away, but WTOK's Annual Toython starts this Friday. We are once again trying to fill one of Peavey Electronics' 18-wheeler trucks with toys for children whose families need help this year.
The Wesley House, which distributes the toys, has joined forces with several Mississippi charities to ensure every application for help is processed. There have been new security measures installed to prevent fraud.
However, even with the updated system, the need this year is greater than ever.
"The need has skyrocketed and it is a different kind of need," said Wesley House executive director, Ginger Stevens.
New technology and better communication between charities has helped put a stop to fraudulent applications. However, even without reoccurring request forms, the number of applications this year has filled twelve 3-inch binders.
Last year the applications for toys filled only seven binders. While there is a hefty increase, we refuse to let that discourage us.
"Our goal is to collect as much as we can. We have an 18-wheel trailer that we try to fill every year," said WTOK general manager, Tim Walker. "Obviously, there are years where you will do better, but we found that in the toughest of years, we see the best response."
"Whatever we get we will make do with," Stevens said.
There will be one exciting new aspect to Toython this year. The Wesley House has organized several musical groups and solo singers to serenade the crowd at the Bonita Wal-Mart in Meridian.
For details about participating, call Wesley House at 601-485-4736.
The singing stage will be available not only to the scheduled musical acts, but to all Toython donors. Let's fill that truck one more time.
New toys will be collected Friday from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.