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Toys for Tots spreads smiles

By Staff
CHRISTMAS TOYS Eleven-year-old Will Moore, left, and his sister, Melissa, 4, drop off two toys Tuesday at the Toys for Tots bin at Steve McAllister & Son on Eighth Street. Marines will be collecting toys from local businesses through Monday so they can distribute them to needy children. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Fredie Carmichael/The Meridian Star
Dec. 12, 2001
Teashley Collins of Meridian dreams about becoming a professional singer when she gets older.
So Collins, 10, asked Santa Claus this year for a karaoke microphone she could use to start practicing.
But without the Toys for Tots campaign coordinated by U.S. Marines at Naval Air Station Meridian, Collins' wish wouldn't come true.
Marines have been working with local businesses and organizations since the end of October to collect toys for needy children this Christmas.
This year marks the 54th year of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Campaign. Meridian is one of 384 communities in the United States that will benefit from the program.
Gunnery Sgt. Richard Rayburn, who has volunteered for Toys for Tots for eight years, said he still remembers the first time he presented a child with a toy.
Rayburn said this year that the Marines have collected more toys than ever before in Meridian.
Rayburn said Staff Sgt. Gilbert Ramon, who is coordinating this year's campaign at NAS Meridian, is the reason for the success.
The Marines will collect toys through Monday. For more information, call 679-7053.
Fredie Carmichael is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3228, or e-mail him at