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Schools collect toys for needy children

LAWRENCEVILLE - North Gwinnett marketing club students filled a trailer Friday morning with thousands of gifts that will be distributed to Gwinnett County children through the Toys for Tots Foundation.

The schools in the North Gwinnett cluster dropped toys at the school, filling a hallway and several cafeteria table tops with board games, teddy bears, action figures, bicycles and other items.

Jacqueline Huffman, the adviser of the marketing club DECA, said the response to the toy drive was "just amazing." Riverside Elementary collected more than 800 toys, Suwanee Elementary collected about 370 toys, Level Creek Elementary collected about 400 toys, and Lanier Middle School collected about 1,200 toys.

Toys were also collected by the Buice Center School, Sugar Hill Elementary, Sycamore Elementary, North Gwinnett and Quantum Bank.

North Gwinnett senior Katie Martin, the DECA president, said the cluster collected more than 6,000 toys.

The Toys for Tots Foundation will distribute most of the toys, but North Gwinnett gave 1,200 toys to the Norcross Cooperative Ministry.

Although North Gwinnett collected about the same number of toys as it has in the past, Martin said the other schools in the cluster increased the number of items than they have brought in previous years.

"We were way more successful this year because of the participation from the cluster schools," Martin said.

Needy children in Barrow County will also be receiving gifts donated through a school.

Prekindergarten students at Barrow's Early Learning Center gave their donated gifts to Santa Friday.

"We talked about how usually Santa brings us gifts," said Shannon Hammond, the assistant principal at the Early Learning Center. "This time, we were going to give things to Santa."

More than 250 gifts will be distributed through the Barrow County Family Connection's Holiday Connection, which provides assistance to needy families in the county, Hammond said.

The Apalachee High School chorus sang to the Early Learning Center Students and also donated toys.