THOMASTON – The Thomaston Toy Lady, who has provided Christmas gifts to needy families for more than three decades, is getting ready for the 2000 holiday season.
Thelma Marr, with the help of her family, again will collect toys and goodies to be given to youngsters who may not otherwise receive Christmas gifts.
The Thomaston woman suffered a stroke 11 years ago and nearly gave up her tradition, but with the help of her family she has carried on. Marr, who turns 79 on Dec. 15, plans to retire at 80, so next year will mark her final delivery.
The only strings attached to Marr’s holiday gift giving are that the families who request assistance truly need the help and a parent must sign up for the program.
What has driven Marr to help children is seeing sad faces turn into happy smiles. “Smiles, No Tears” has been her motto and inspiration, she said.
In keeping with her tradition, Marr packages up presents for girls and boys ages 1 to 13. New or almost new toys could include clothed dolls, cars, trucks and games. Gifts for older children might be cassette players or compact disc machines, cassette tapes or compact discs, video games, jewelry, toiletries or hair dryers. Some items that are good for all ages are such warm winter clothing as new hats, mittens and gloves, candy, batteries and canned goods or nonperishable foods. Even a few presents for parents would be appreciated.
Any civic organizations, churches or schools that would like to assist in collecting items or making up food baskets are welcome to participate.
Marr asks that gifts not include broken or dirty toys or summer clothing. Only clean, whole toys and clothing or food and money should may be mailed to or dropped off at her Main Street home. Donations also may include wrapping paper and tape.
Cash contributions are used to purchase items to complete the bountiful boxes and to help defray some of Marr’s costs to heat her work space and for the extra electricity required.
The mailing address is: Thelma Marr, P.O. Box 364, Thomaston 04861. Items may be dropped off or people can sign up for gifts at 14 Main St., Thomaston, which is a yellow house near the town mall. Pickup service is available by calling Marr at 354-6702 or her daughter Beverly Brown at 354-8170.