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Ormond Beach Observer Monday, Dec. 2, 2013 4 years ago

Ormond, Palm Coast companies collect for Toys for Tots

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After five years volunteering, Holly Douglas has collected thousands of toys for local tots through her Ormond Beach business.

BY WAYNE GRANT | STAFF WRITER

Holly Douglas remembers when she was small, her mother, a single mom, sometimes struggled to make ends meet. One Christmas when things were particularly tough, some people from their church came by and gave them a turkey and gifts.

“My sister and I saw that and it really made an impression,” she said. “Now I want to do that for a child. My sister and I are both successful and we want to pass it on and encourage a child, and maybe they will be successful.”

That’s one reason Douglas, business development director for ServiceMaster, a disaster-restoration business in Ormond Beach, puts so many miles on the company van, dropping off collection boxes for Toys for Tots in October and then picking up donated toys in December.

She has 51 clients from Ormond Beach south to Oak Hill and, last year, delivered 2,000 toys to the local coordinator for the Marine Corps Reserve, who distributes the toys through various social service agencies.

She started five years ago and has built up the number of drop-off locations each year.

“Ormond Beach is an important area,” she said. “There are lots of participating businesses.”

One location is Manning and Associates, an Allstate Insurance agency on West Granada Boulevard.

“Our box is always full with toys and flowing over onto the floor every year,” Sandra Manning said. “Near the end, I call people and say, ‘The truck is coming,’ and they flood in here with toys. People are really into giving to the kids.”

Douglas not only places the boxes and picks up the toys but also places Toys for Tots signs out in front of the businesses.

“I want to do something for the community,” she said. "We (also) work with charities throughout the year, such as breast cancer awareness.”

Complete information about Toys for Tots in the Ormond Beach area can be found at ormond-beach-fl.toysfortots.org.

Up the road in Flagler County, there’s even more Toys for Tots activity.

Palm Coast Lanes was busy Nov. 23 in a Bowl-a-Thon fundraiser sponsored by Coldwell Banker Premiere Properties, at 33 Old Kings Road N., and the Flagler Association of Realtors, the registered agent for Toys for Tots in Flagler County.

“It’s a fun time,” said organizer Tom Heiser, broker-manager for Coldwell Properties. “And it’s for a good cause.”

Heiser said there were about 125 bowlers from local businesses and government-office teams.

“It was a packed house and it’s been packed the last few years,” he said. About $2,000 was raised.

Last year, Toys for Tots in Flagler County provided gifts to 1,930 children. Each child receives several toys. And it was the 10th year for the Bowl-a-Thon, which was started by Heiser’s brother, Gary.

Heiser said the Realtors’ association registers children for gifts by working with schools and organizations. Volunteers sort the toys by boy, girl and age group.

And then they shop.

“I enjoy going to the toy store, pointing at a shelf, and saying, ‘I’ll take all of those,'" Heiser said.

Heiser said in 1986, when Toys for Tots started, there weren’t many children in Palm Coast and only 230 kids signed up. Last year, there were almost 2,000.

“It’s a great way to help the community,” Heiser said. “When I run into parents that picked up toys for their kids, they always thank me … even if it was years ago.”

Visit palm-coast-fl.toysfortots.org.

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