UPDATE: Forgotten Child Fund receives emergency toy shipment for needy families
A local charity that ensures every child in town has toys on Christmas morning is in need of your help.
UPDATE: Nearly a week after the community was urged to donate to US101's Forgotten Child Fund Fundraiser, thousands of toys were delivered to the FCF warehouse to be handed out to families.
Organizers tell Channel 3 the donation drive was the most successful donation drive they have ever had. They raised nearly $30,000 that will go toward purchasing toys for the community.
"I wanted to make sure that everybody knew, yea we're telling you the truth, we've made an emergency purchase and we're probably going to make another one, and without the cash donations at US101 it wouldn't have been possible," said organizer Clay Ingle.
The once nearly-empty warehouse is now overflowing with new toys. Volunteers are working to fill toy boxes for more than $10,000 children. Each box contains 5-6 age appropriate toys, a stuffed animal, a ball, a book and an educational toy. Each box is valued at about $70.
"We've still got to pack for 4,000 kids," Ingle said, about 10 days before Christmas.
Ingle said it's been difficult getting the needed donations this year but no matter what, there will be gifts for every child.
"Oh, we're going to do it, we're going to get there. But yea I'm always nervous until we're done packing," Ingle said.
For Freeman Adkisson and his family, it's the first time they've relied on the Forgotten Child Fund for help.
"I signed up for five, I got five boys," Adkisson said.
His family doesn't have the means to provide anything extra on Christmas Day.
"It would have been tough this year," Adkisson said, "It would have been real tough."
Adkisson was all smiles when he loaded up his son's toy boxes.
"I had a little peek in there, it was a whole lot of joy in there!" he said, "I seen something they really gonna love in there."
Gifts the whole family will cherish on Christmas morning.
"God Bless everybody that did this, they didn't have to take the time out to do this," Adkisson said.
Ingle said that's exactly why their warehouse is always full of volunteers.
"That's our reward, to see the reaction from the family to let us know we've done a good thing," Ingle said.
The Forgotten Child Fund is still asking for community donations to make sure each child has something on Christmas morning. Toys that can not be used this Christmas will be used for families next year.
PREVIOUS UPDATE: The Forgotten Child fund held a big donation drive on Friday, and this year, there was an even bigger need than usual after their charity concert was canceled due to an injured country music artist Granger Smith.
Volunteers with the fund were collecting donations from 6 am until 6 pm at two locations.
"Well I have plenty, and they need more, so I'll give mine to them," said Meaghan Sutton.
"I had cash on me today, I've given after the bus accident and I'm just going to give whenever I can, there's always people in need," said Kelly Hurst.
Even though the Forgotten Child Fund is a little behind on donations this year, volunteers are confident the community won't let a child be forgotten on Christmas morning.
"I had to be helped when I was younger so I just try and give back," said Marilyn Scarbrough.
Cars were coming and going all day long at US101 studios.
Some gave cash, others gave gifts, and Scarbrough even brought snacks for first responders volunteering.
"Yes, I went to the Little Debbie store up the road and figured they might could use some snacks throughout the day," she said.
And on top of it all, organizer Clay Ingle said there was an even bigger surprise.
"We've had somebody step up really special this year."
Local business president Johnny Jones of Lipsey Logistics Worldwide heard about the canceled concert and wanted to help.
"Through the kindness of their heart, and by getting the word out, they've made a $10,000 donation to help us this year," Ingle said.
These big and small gestures of kindness, Ingle said, will directly go toward the children who would otherwise go without on Christmas day.
"There are many people out here who have come out and gave $1, $2, $5 and that's just as important to me," Ingle said.
It's still too early to say just how many donations they've received from this big event but Ingle said they now have enough money to make that emergency purchase of toys just in time for Christmas.
ORIGINAL STORY: A local charity that ensures every child in town has toys on Christmas morning is in need of your help.
The Forgotten Child Fund is low on donations, and now with an unexpected cancellation of its biggest fundraiser, volunteers are turning to the community to make up for that loss.
HOW TO HELP | The Forgotten Child Fund website
With just a few weeks until Christmas, donations bins at their warehouse are usually overflowing with toys. This year they're in a desperate need of donations in order to hand out toys to more than 10,500 needy children.
"This is a bigger operation than a lot of people realize," said organizer Clay Ingle.
Each year the Forgotten Child Fund hands out more than $700,000 dollars worth of toys. That's a combination of monetary donations, toy donations and purchases made from the Fund's saving account.
Each year, radio station US101 teams up with the Forgotten Child Fund to put on a charity concert. But this year, the planned event with country singer Granger Smith is canceled.
"Well the concert is probably can be as much as 50 percent of our income," Ingle said, "It's our biggest fundraiser."
Unfortunately, Granger Smith fell off stage during a concert last week and broke two ribs, and punctured his lung. He had to cancel all of his events for the next two months, including his concert Thursday at Track 29.
"But with the concert that we had planned being canceled, we really need some donations," said Ken from US101.
"Yea, I mean tonight was the kick off night we usually do because it kicks off into tomorrow's fundraiser but with Granger Smith falling and puncturing his lung he couldn't do it, and that usually kicks off a huge amount of money for us to get us into Friday, so without that we need all the help we can get tomorrow," said Daniel from US101.
On Friday US101 will collect donations all day long to help make up for that loss.
Donations can be dropped off at US101 or at New York Pizza Department on TN-153 from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m.
"You know we understand the area is in what we call "donation shock" right now because they're giving to everything," Ingle said, "They're helping the children from Woodmore, they're helping the forest fires, they're helping the tornado victims, and unfortunately we need the help too."
Donations will then go toward making an emergency purchase of toys in order to fill every child's Christmas box.
"I hate to keep asking, you know I hate coming out here saying we need these toys but we do, I don't want a child to wake up Christmas morning without a toy and somehow we're going to fill it," Ingle said.
For more information on how you can help, or to make a donation online, click here.
Donations are collected right up until Christmas Day. The FCF is still accepting applications for children through December 14th.