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Lisa Fox of the Greensville Emporia Dept. of Social Services puts toys on the table.

In a yearly tradition of holiday spirit and generosity, the Emporia-Greensville community came together on Dec. 9 and 10 to host the annual Christmas Happiness Toy Drive at the Golden Leaf Commons. Staff members from the Dept. of Social Services were joined by other County staff, as well as staff from the

Volunteers shopped, prepared and distributed sets of toys for boys and girls ages 1 through 18. In total, __ children received toys through the event.

This year’s event looked different than prior years, however. Restrictions put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic forced the event’s planners to be creative with how they allowed families to move about the room and select sets of toys. Families were socially distanced while waiting to check in. Then, volunteers led families around the room to pick up pre-packaged sets of toys depending on the age of the child or children they were shopping for.

All individuals, both volunteers and families, were screened and had their temperatures checked before they entered the building to receive their Christmas bundles.

Assistant County Administrator Gary Cifers and Golden Leaf Commons facility manager Debbie Norwood Drummond spent a number of nights shopping for toys at Walmart and Roses in Emporia.

The Emporia-Greensville Community came thorough for the 46th consecutive year in assisting the Independent-Messenger and the Greensville Emporia Department of Social Services in bringing Christmas joy to children in Emporia-Greensville.

In 1976 former Editor of the Independent-Messenger Keith Mitchell and Greensville Emporia Department of Social Services Director Judy English established the Christmas Happiness Fund to bring Christmas joy to children in the community that otherwise may have woken up Christmas morning without a present to open.

Through the years, individuals, businesses, and others have opened their hearts and contributed nearly $400,000 to make sure disadvantaged youth had a Christmas to remember.

Here are the most recent contributions to the 2020 Christmas Happiness Fund:

$800 from Boar’s Head;

$200 from Dr. Peter and Nancy Squire in memory of Billy Harris;

$10 from Randy and Janet Gillam;

$100 from Jane H. Prince;

$250 from Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative;

$25 from Frances H. Bunn in memory of V.T. Harrell;

$25 from Oran Safety Glass;

$100 from Clifford M.Brown and Cary Ann Brown in memory of our brother Jerry S. Brown.