In 1947, Marine reservist Maj. Bill Hendricks founded Toys for Tots, the U.S. Marine Corps-funded program that gathers and distributes toys to disadvantaged children. With about 15 million children living in poverty in the United States, program proved itself to be useful and has become a holiday tradition.
In 2014. Takita Selvy, a member of the Word Church of Vicksburg, was given an opportunity to serve her community by joining with the charity as its Warren County coordinator.
“We’ve never had a Toys for Tots coordinator in this area,” Selvy said. “So. someone contacted my pastor and asked him if he knew anybody who would like to be a coordinator, and at that time, I didn’t have a job, and I wanted to stay busy in the ministry. I then took on the role as coordinator five years ago, and it’s just been blooming ever since.”
Every year, Selvy works with her fellow church members to gather all types of toys for children in need in the Warren County area.
“With our chapter it began five years ago,” she said. “We do it through my church, the Word Church of Vicksburg, and it’s pastored by Bishop Oscar L. Davis, and we try to make it greater and grander than the last year. We had a really big year last year and the year before that, and this year we just wanted to get the community involved. That was our main goal.”
With several organizations and churches pitching in—including Child Protective Services, the Vicksburg Children’s Shelter, and the Family and Development Center—Selvy is grateful to the community for helping to make Toys for Tots a success each year. She says none of it would be possible without her pastor.
“Our pastor loves children, and he always wanted to be involved with Toys for Tots,” she said. “So when the opportunity presented itself, he was excited that we, as a church family, would be making a difference in the lives of disadvantaged children.”
The Word Church of Vicksburg is collecting toys for children ages 2 through 18. On Dec. 7, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., church members will be gathering at 2150 Iowa Blvd. to pack a truck full of toys. Then, on Dec. 14, the church will host a family friendly event from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 255 Fisher Ferry Road. Guests will be able to meet with Santa, drink hot cocoa, enjoy a train ride and decorate Christmas cards for deployed Marines.
For information, and to learn how to contribute to Toys for Tots, call Takita Selvy at 601-885-3599 or Jacqueline Brown at 601-589-0793.