Toy drive brings Christmas to Coalmont - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Toy drive brings Christmas to Coalmont

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COALMONT, GRUNDY COUNTY (WRCB)  --  For many families in Coalmont, bills and the tough economy overshadow Christmas.

"Our economy is so bad up here in the mountain," Beverly Jones says. "There's not many jobs and there's cut-backs, there's layoffs, there's nothing."

Jones relies on the Jane Creighton Annual Toy Drive to give her six grandchildren a piece of Christmas.

"When you're having to choose food over Christmas presents, you're going to choose food," Jones says.

Every year, Nancy Tolbert Yilmaz and her family drive the 164 miles from Atlanta to Coalmont with a truck packed full of donations.

Nancy and her mother, Jane Creighton, began the tradition nearly two decades ago. Although her mother is now gone, Nancy says she's determined not to forget about this small town.

"My mother and her sisters grew up here, in Coalmont," Nancy says.  

The work begins in October when Ray Winton, a community minister, sends a list of children's names who are in-need.

"Most of the people here are people who work on minimum wages and with expenses being what they are to survive today, it means they'll have more Christmas than they would've had," Winton says.  

"My belief is that you need to give back, that this is what Christmas is all about," says Nancy.

Bag after bag, volunteers unloaded the truck.

After an hour, toys, bicycles and books pack the small church, giving many a Merry Christmas after all.

"A lot of times on Christmas morning when you see that little face light up, to see if they have something in the morning, it makes it worthwhile," Jones says.  

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