Municipal employees participated in a toy drive that netted more than 600 presents for needy families to put under the tree. The gifts were distributed from Fire Station No. 3.
"It means a whole lot," Laura Coggins of Guntown said as she received her packages. "Sometimes it's hard to get gifts for the kids and grandkids. This helps. It really does."
The fire station opened its large doors to allow a procession of vehicles to drive through, each receiving a white bag filled with toys. More than a dozen city employees scurried around, matching families' names to the gift bags and helping to pass them out.
"It's a good example to see the city give back to the community," said Ward 4 Councilwoman Nettie Davis. "This has been very successful."
The toy drive was spearheaded by Human Resources Assistant Director Contanna Purnell, who reported an overwhelming response from the community.
"We had close to 500 families to submit an application, she said.
The city asked that only needy families apply, but it didn't require financial records, relying instead on an honor system. Almost every Tupelo family was accepted into the program, and others came from surrounding communities.
Purnell termed the city's first toy drive a success but said it might be the last.
"Hopefully the economy picks up, and we can do a different project next year," she said. "This was a lot of work, but it was good. It brought all the departments together for a common cause."
Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or firstname.lastname@example.org.