SUWANEE -- Students and volunteers with the North Gwinnett Cluster have a holiday tradition that spreads joy to families in need.
The annual community service project, DECA Toys for Tots, gives area residents a chance to be charitable during the holidays, said DECA Advisor Jacqueline Huffman. She said it's an important event for the community, and it's "always a great day."
North Gwinnett High students Megan White, a sophomore, and Ashley Fitzgerald, a senior, agreed.
"It's nice helping kids who might not otherwise get Christmas gifts," Fitzgerald said. "It's good to be able to be a part of this."
Other schools that participated in Thursday's toy drive included Level Creek, Riverside, Roberts and Suwanee elementary schools, as well as North Gwinnett Middle School.
"The students are working so hard to collect toys," said Huffman, who oversaw Thursday's efforts.
The U.S. Marines had a representative at the donation drive as well. He stood outside the box truck as students packed it with board games, stuffed animals and sports gear.
According to its website, the mission of the program is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year and "distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to needy children in the community."
The goal is to "deliver a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters that will assist them in becoming responsible, productive, patriotic citizens."
DECA is an organization that aims to prepare emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges around the world.