Last Minute Toy Store set to help families in need - WSMV Channel 4

Last Minute Toy Store set to help families in need

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Parents have begun lining up to make this a Christmas one their children will never forget.

The 61st Avenue United Methodist Church in west Nashville kicked off its annual Last Minute Toy Store Wednesday morning.

The event provides free toys for low-income children in Davidson County.

Organizers say a limited number of tickets will be given out on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 6:30 a.m. each day through Saturday. Ticket holders can then return in the afternoon to select something special for their children.

Nita Haywood, youth director at the church, organizes the outreach program -  now in its 19th year - with a special sort of energy brought on by her own experience growing up in East Nashville.

"My ministry is to give back to kids and to teach them that there's more, and by offering the toy store to these parents, we're offering hope," she said. "We're making a difference. We're making change."

Last year, toys were distributed to nearly 5,000 children from more than 1,400 area families. Already on the first day this year, more than 400 tickets were handed out.

Each recipient works with a volunteer to pick the perfect presents for their children.

"I just count it as a blessing, because that bag of stuff - if I went somewhere and bought that - that's over $400 worth of toys and that's a big help," said gift recipient Felicia Hicks.

Gift recipients don't have to pre-register to take part in the Last Minute Toy Store, but they must bring a photo ID, proof of Davidson County residency, identification for the child - such as a birth certificate or school report card, and proof of the parent's income.

Anyone who wants to offer some last-minute support, the program is accepting donations until Saturday at noon.

The church is located at 6018 New York Ave. For more information, visit: http://www.lastminutetoystore.com/?pg=home.

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