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North Gwinnett cluster collecting Toys for Tots

SUWANEE - With less than a month until Christmas and even fewer days until Hanukkah, schools in the North Gwinnett cluster are working to make sure that children in Suwanee, Buford and Sugar Hill enjoy the holidays.

Starting today, North Gwinnett High, Lanier Middle, Riverside Elementary, Suwanee Elementary, Sugar Hill Elementary, Sycamore Elementary, Level Creek Elementary and the Buice Center schools are collecting new toys for the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation.

North Gwinnett DECA, a marketing club, formed in 1999 and chose to work with Toys for Tots, said Jacqueline Huffman, North Gwinnett's marketing coordinator and DECA adviser. An elementary school in the cluster became interested in participating as well, and all of the cluster schools have participated for three years.

"They (the students) can relate to what it would be like to wake up on the holiday and not have presents," Huffman said.

The schools are collecting toys for boys and girls who are 12 years old or younger, Huffman said. Toys must be in their original packaging and should not be gift-wrapped, because the toys will be sorted according to age group.

Popular gifts include teddy bears and books, but Huffman said the older children don't get as many gifts as the younger ones. Older girls often like gifts such as manicure sets, she said.

"Of course, we love anything," Huffman said.

Quantum National Bank, which has branches in Suwanee and Alpharetta, is also participating in the toy drive.

Donations will be given to children who live in the area. As the Toys for Tots Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, donations are tax deductible.

For more information about Toys for Tots, visit www.toysfortots.org.