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Community donations to Toy Share exceed expectations

More than 300 toys were distributed to children in Franklin County communities over the holidays through the fifth annual Bank Independent and WAFF48 Toy Share toy drive.

Bank Independent volunteers delivered toys to the Department of Human Resources of Franklin County for distribution just in time for Christmas.

A total of 4,758 toys and $1,680 were donated to the drive, far exceeding 2014 totals – 3,400 toys and more than $800 in cash and gift cards – and helping hundreds of families across six counties.

“This program grows every year thanks to our generous communities,” said Macke Mauldin, Bank Independent president. “And every year our community partners distribute toys to more and more local children. We want to express our gratitude to everyone who helped us make this Christmas brighter for our neighbors and friends.”

Toys were collected in all bank sales offices and in Dollar General locations in Courtland and Red Bay and were presented to partnering charitable organizations for distribution to local families prior to Christmas Day.

“We have about 58 kids in foster care right now,” explained DHR Director Amber Steward. “We use that to help provide Christmas presents for those kids. So their community support is greatly appreciated.”

Steward said Christmas poses a unique challenge for foster parents, many of whom are trying to make the season special for both their foster children as well as their biological children. “They want to provide for the foster kids the same quantity, same amount as their biological kids … to make them feel welcome and at home,” Steward said.

Toy Share was the last of four annual Share drives hosted by Bank Independent in 2015 to give back to the community as part of Bank Independent’s Helping Hands initiative. The first Share drive of 2016, Shelter Share, will run throughout the month of February. Shelter Share offers all Bank Independent locations as convenient donation points for pet food and supplies to be donated to area animal shelters.