Families – some 800 of them – received toys on Wednesday as part of the Olympic Cares Toy Drive.
The toy giveaway unfolded at Neighborhood Christian Centers (NCC), Inc., located at 785 Jackson Ave. It was hosted by event partners Olympic Tax Service LLC and MAPCO Express Inc., and included donations made directly to the NCC.
The joy of the season meshed with seriousness of purpose. In addition to the toy giveaway, attendees were able to receive flu shots, dental checks, and HIV/AIDS screenings, as well as information and trinkets from the Shelby County Health Department.
Eight Health Department exhibitors represented the following programs – Clinical Services, Dental, Emergency Preparedness, Family Planning, Immunizations, Infectious Diseases, Maternal Child Health Program, and TENNder Care.
Other exhibitors included Shelby County Community Services, Memphis Health Center, and Olympic Tax Service. Clear Channel stations K97.7, V101.1, WDIA and Hallelujah FM 95.7 broadcasted from the NCC parking lot.
The 2012 Olympic Cares Toy Drive kicked off with a press conference held October 15 at the MAPCO Mart located at 979 East Brooks. Families citywide were invited to sign up for toy store vouchers. All 800 slots were filled by November 30. Parents and guardians were allowed to pick out toys for up to three children in their household.
Donations, including dozens of bikes as part of MAPCO Express's Wish for Wheels program, were collected during the eight-week collection period, which ended Monday, Dec. 10. Collection points included 47 Memphis area MAPCO Express convenience stores as well as three Cricket Communication corporate stores in Mid-town, Raleigh and Hickory Hill.
Sponsors for the 2012 Olympic Cares Toy Drive included Brim's Snacks, Cricket, Frito-Lay, Pepsi, The New Tri-State Defender and four Clear Channel Radio stations – K97.1, V101, WDIA, and Hallelujah FM 95.7.
Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong and City Councilman Harold Collins served as co-chairs for the toy drive.
Olympic Tax Service LLC, a division of Olympic Financial, provides full service individual federal and income tax preparation. It is owned and operated by Christian Davis.
Photos: Top - Volunteer Indra Klaus presents choices during the Olympic Cares Toy Drive giveaway. (Photo by Chris Hope.) Second - Bikes were definitely in demand as volunteers continually brought them in. Timeka Tatum chooses a bike. (Photo by Chris Hope.) Bottom - Christian Davis is the owner and operator of Olympic Tax Service. (Photo by Chris Hope)