The collection boxes are gone and the toys have been gathered. This past Sunday, Christmas for Kids 2010 was wrapped up.
Nearly 100 volunteers joined the Dunwoody Police Department at First Baptist Church Atlanta to wrap gifts collected in the 2010 toy drive.
The volunteers came together to do their part to brighten Christmas for children in need in Dunwoody.
Last year's wrapping took over eight hours. This year it was finished in a little more than one hour.
Christmas for Kids is the brainchild of Officer Fidel Espinoza, who prior to the city's chartering, had been a police officer stationed at North Precinct with DeKalb Police Department.
"Dunwoody is a very close knit, family oriented community," Espinoza said, adding that he saw an opportunity to help make a difference.
Families are nominated and then selected based on need.
"Every child and/or family gets nominated either by officers or concerned citizens," said Lt. Oliver Fladrich. "Dunwoody Police officers then go by the house and qualify them to insure that [there is] a real need."
The people of Dunwoody responded to the call for donations this year. More gifts were collected than were needed to fulfill this year's goal. The surplus toys will be donated to local children's hospitals and shelters.
The charity also gives officers another way of connecting to residents.
"Involving volunteers from the community made a whole world of difference," said Espinoza, chairman of Christmas for Kids.
The event is not only popular with Dunwoody residents, but others as well.
"Most of the volunteers live in the Dunwoody community, but we had volunteers from all over," said Deborah Parsons, the team leader of the Gifts/Distribution committee.
Volunteers came from Acworth, Powder Springs, Atlanta, Athens, Snellville, Lawrenceville, Cumming, and Marietta. Three Girl Scout Troops (Troops 26425, 23437 and 22410) and members of the Dunwoody Kiwanis Club also helped.
The Wrap Up party, hosted in the Lakeside Grill at First Baptist Church Atlanta, was led by Parsons and Fladrich. JB and KC Tate helped to gather, organize and label gifts. JC Tate is an officer with the Dunwoody Police Department.
Wrapping paper, tape, bows, and other supplies were donated by Publix in Dunwoody.
After the last bow was placed and the mountain of gifts was hauled to the truck, Fladrich expressed his gratitude.
"I would want to thank the First Baptist Church of Atlanta for allowing us the space to store and wrap the gifts and for the cookies and drinks, all the adults and kids who came and helped wrap gifts, all the Dunwoody PD employees who participated ... but most of all Deborah Parsons, [First Baptist Church's] human resource director and head of our gift committee, who organized this fantastic event."
The wrapped gifts will be delivered by Santa at a private party for the children and their families hosted in a local church. The gifts will be given out during a two hour program, which will include a Christmas meal and crafts.