Toys for Tots honors Wilson for volunteer work
By Jason A. Smith
Stockbridge resident and business owner Kelly Wilson can still recall her reaction to receiving a custom-made G.I. Joe action figure honoring her volunteer work with Toys for Tots.
Toys for Tots Volunteer Coordinator, Kelly Wilson and her husband Robert attended the Toys for Tots award dinner in September where she received a custom G.I. Joe action figure in thanks for her efforts. Special photo
“It’s super cool to have an action figure that looks like me,” said Wilson, who is a coordinator for Toys for Tots donations during the holiday season. “Holy cow, I can’t believe this! I got a kick out of it because I have big feet, and so does my action figure. My waist hasn’t been that small since I was 16. It’s fabulous.”
Wilson was among hundreds of coordinators who received a custom-made G.I. Joe action figure during an annual Toys for Tots training conference September 14 in Leesburg, Va. The honor was in response to her efforts in raising awareness about Toys for Tots’ impact on families in need within the Atlanta region. She was also named Toys for Tots’ Regional Coordinator of the Year for 2017.
“It’s actually still surreal,” said Wilson. “There are hundreds of coordinators around the country who do the exact same thing I do, and to be recognized as one of the best in the country is amazing.”
The custom G.I. Joe action figure. Special photo
Hasbro donated more than one million toys and games to the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program during the holiday season last year.
Wilson, president of Twiins Relocation in Stockbridge, began volunteering with Toys for Tots 11 years ago, and is in her fourth year as a coordinator for the program. She said Hasbro, Inc., which owns G.I. Joe, sought input from people who have benefited from Toys For Tots over the years.
“Hasbro wanted us to receive as many inspirational letters as possible describing the impact that Toys for Tots has on people in the Atlanta area,” said Wilson. “There’s many aspects of what Toys for Tots means to people, and so they wanted those stories.”
To date, said Wilson, Toys for Tots has distributed 548 million toys to 251 million children across the country who “wouldn’t have anything otherwise.” Her campaign, she said, is the largest in the country, serving more than 400,000 children across 18 counties.
“It hurts my heart to know that if I wasn’t here, and the team that supports our program wasn’t here, these kids would not have Christmas,” said Wilson.
She said G.I. Joe is symbolic of her desire to continue the fight on behalf of less fortunate children. She excitedly voiced appreciation for her customized action figure, adding that she enjoys dressing it up in different outfits to share on Facebook.
Wilson said she owes her team of volunteers for her success. She is hopeful that her team’s efforts with Toys for Tots will result in another G.I. Joe action figure from Hasbro.
“They’re doing it again this year for the 2019 campaign,” said Wilson. “I’m a twin, so I need another one to match. We need the Henry County residents’ support now, more than ever, because our distribution center this year is located in Henry County. So we need people to volunteer and to work in the warehouse.”
For more information, visit www.atlantatoysfortots.org.