Toy drive honors life of long time volunteer - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Toy drive honors life of long time volunteer

Mark Barhanovich Mark Barhanovich
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

Mark Barhanovich always loved the Christmas season. The Biloxi man was involved for many years as a volunteer and president of the Doll and Toy Fund. Mark passed away in a boating accident back in September. Other volunteers are making sure that his memory and the good works he did live on.

On Sunday, volunteers helped parents pick out Christmas gifts for their children. The Biloxi Doll and Toy Fund organizers said this year they'll distribute gifts for about 700 Biloxi elementary school children.

"There's so many children that's underprivileged and that need help," said Donald Marie, Biloxi Doll and Toy Fund. "We feel like this is one of the ways that we can do part of the community work."

This year the group made up t-shirts in honor of long time volunteer Barhanovich. 

"He played for Southern and we got his name with Southern," said Marie. "His number is on the back of it with what they used to call him, the white knight."

His family said Mark Barhanovich's love for the Doll and Toy Fund was passed down from his father Yankie Barhanovich.

"It was very close to his heart. His father actually started it when he was just a baby," said Jerrie Barhanovich, Mark's widow. "It started for people in Biloxi area that didn't have, the less fortunate."

"He wanted to make sure that little kids at Christmas time would have under the tree," said Jerrie Barhanovich. "When his dad passed away, he just took off and he did it for I guess at least 30 something years."

Now the next generation of Barhanoviches are carrying on the tradition.

Jerrie Barhanovich said, "My kids and my grandkids are here today and it gives them pleasure to be able to help someone else."

"I just want to thank the Doll and Toy Fund for dedicating today to Mark. It means a lot to me," she said. "He was my heart. We were married for 33 years and he was tragically taken from me. I know that God has got him and he is in a good place. That makes me feel good."

Anyone who would like to donate to the Biloxi Doll and Toy Fund can call 228-697-8355.

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