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GSU Festival of Trees hopes to raise $3,000 for Toys for Tots
111708 PARADE OF TREES 01
Becki Akins and daughter Emily Mains, 10, take in the sights at the Festival of Trees at the Nessmith-Lane Continuing Education Center at Georgia Southern University Monday. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff
    When it’s all said and done, the Georgia Southern University Festival of Trees hopes to raise $3,000 for the local Toys for Tots campaign.
    With 10 gaily decorated trees and four wreaths all decked out with holiday cheer, it shouldn’t be hard to do so. Citizens can see the trees and wreaths at GSU’s Nessmith-Lane Continuing Education Building, and can purchase raffle tickets in an effort to win one of the holiday decorations, said Festival of Trees spokesman Charlotte Woody.
    Tickets are $1 each, but one can purchase a dozen for $10, she said. Then, after buying the raffle tickets, drop them in a box beside the tree or wreath you wish to take home — should you win.
    The trees and wreaths will be raffled at 7 p.m. Saturday after a day filled with fun, Woody said.
    Those interested in tickets can go by  today from 1-8 p.m.  or can get those tickets before the raffle as they enjoy a day of entertainment, with a dozen local vendors set up in  the Nessmith-Lane building; puppet shows at 1, 3 and 5 p.m., and an appearance by Santa Claus at 1 p.m., she said.
    Free hot chocolate and cookies will also be available.
    All proceeds will go to the Christmas in the Boro and the County Toys for Tots Drive,  sponsored by the Statesboro Police Department, Bulloch County Sheriff’s Department, United States Marine Corps and Wal-Mart Supercenter and Distribution.
    Families in need can apply for assistance with Christmas gifts for their young children by going to the Statesboro Police Department or Bulloch County Sheriff’s Department and filling out an application. Deadline for application is Dec., 5, said  Tina Greenhaw, event coordinator.
    Citizens can also help by dropping off new, unwrapped  toys at boxes in various locations around town, including the following, she said: Big Lots, Wal-Mart, Sea Island Bank (all branches), BB&T, Briggs and Stratton, Harveys, Jackson-Hewitt, Army Recruitment, GSU, Dollar General stores, Wal-Mart Distribution,  Statesboro Police Department, Bulloch County Sheriff’s Department, Statesboro Herald, Sav-A-Lot, Fred’s and GSU’s Nessmith-Lane Building.
     Volunteers from the law enforcement agencies, Wal-Mart and other groups will form a convoy Friday, Dec. 19 to deliver the boxes of toys and food for a Christmas meal to qualifying families, Greenhaw said.
    Families who prefer to pick up the donations will be able to do so Thursday, Dec. 28, she said.

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