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Bringing Christmas to the needy

Some of the volunteers who helped with Saturday's toy give-away included, left to right, Shelia Walker, Sandra Boggan, Lucille Grimes, Debra Baldwin, Joseph Grimes, Betty Cox, Daniel White and Santa's helper, William Boggan.

Some of the volunteers who helped with Saturday’s toy give-away included, left to right, Shelia Walker, Sandra Boggan, Lucille Grimes, Debra Baldwin, Joseph Grimes, Betty Cox, Daniel White and Santa’s helper, William Boggan.

A number of volunteers from several organizations gave their time and energy Saturday, to make sure that needy children in the Atmore community can have a merry Christmas.

On Saturday, the Change of Mind (COM) Children’s Outreach Ministry held its annual toy give-a-way, which gives presents to local families who may otherwise find it hard to provide gifts for Christmas.

Several weeks ago, Atmore area firefighters asked for Walmart shoppers to either buy small toys for kids, or give a cash donation to help the firefighters purchase toys. Those toys were then collected and distributed Saturday at the COM headquarters on Wilson Avenue.

Atmore Fire Department firefighter Daniel White said more than 400 toys were collected.

COM founder Betty Cox said that the give-a-way is an important part of the ministry, which she founded in 2006.

“God gave me the vision to start in 2006,” she said. “We want to encourage and motivate our kids to make positive choices.”

Cox’s ministry was originally located behind the satellite courthouse office, but several years ago she learned about a house for sale at 109 Wilson Ave. Although the building was in need of serious repairs, Cox knew it could be a perfect spot for COM’s new home.

“I left Sunday school one day and asked some of the neighbors if they would mind having a children’s outreach ministry next to them,” she said. “They told me, ‘We’re not going to stop God.'”

Cox said she was unsure whether the house would work, but she received her answer from the Lord.

“He told me, ‘Look what I can do to people whose lives are broken, and how I can build them back up,'” she said. “‘Imagine what I can do with this house.'”

MC Photography also took pictures of kids with Santa Claus during the Saturday give-away.

Volunteers Shelia Walker, Joseph Grimes and William Boggan help to organize the toys.

Volunteers Shelia Walker, Joseph Grimes and William Boggan help to organize the toys.