Local Marines Prepare To Grant Christmas Wishes - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

11/07/04

Local Marines Prepare To Grant Christmas Wishes

For many children all over the nation, Santa Claus does not come in a jolly red suit.

He comes in a military uniform.

And plenty of these marine corps "santas" were out this weekend collecting toys for tots.

"We do stations here at Toy-R-Us, we've been at the mall, we've been at Factory Outlet, we've been a lot of places and basically all we're doing is trying to give kids a happy Christmas that can't afford it," said Lance Corporal Jermaine Luckett.

And many people, including the Wigginton family, came out to show their charitable spirit.

As soon as the children saw the Marines in front of Toys-R-Us, they asked mom for some money to give - proving the old saying to be true that giving is better than receiving.

"We've had the opportunity to personally serve with the Marines at Camp LeJeune and have seen the integrity and the dedication that they've offered our country and we would do anything for them, and we saw them out here for Toys For Tots. A huge part of being in the Marines is support Toys For Tots and we like to do our part to help them as they help the other kids in the area," said mother Cynthia Wigginton.

But it's not just the children who benefit. These local military santas also reap the rewards of their good deeds.

" It's not so much the going out and getting the toys and getting the donations, it's the end result. It's when we get to go out and we take the money that we get throughout the year and we go and buy the toys, and then when we get to go to the Salvation Army and distribute toys, when we get to go to the churches and distribute the toys because as a young child I was given Toys For Tots, and to be out and have a little kid come up and give you a hug and say thank you and the smile. It fills your heart and it can actually bring you to tears. It's beautiful," said Staff Sergeant Jaime Rodriguez.

The Marines raised nearly five hundred dollars and about 300 toys this weekend.

If you still would like to sign up for Toys for Tots, contact your local Salvation Army or church.

And if you would like to donate toys, you can drop off toys at any of these locations on your screen or just call the Marine Corps Reserve Center at 871-2750.

By Karla Redditte

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