STOLEN TOYS

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FULTON - Coordinators from The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation are working with the Fulton Police Department to find out who broke into the group's storage unit on Tuesday.

The organization gives toys to children in need in nine counties in the Columbia area. 

Coordinator Melissa Barnes said the recent theft is upsetting, especially since the holidays are right around the corner.

"It's heartbreaking. It's frustrating that this person decided to steal from children who already don't have a lot,' Barnes said.

Toys for Tots started collecting the stored toys back in January and hoped to have enough to give out to the 6,000 to 10,000 children it collects for in the Columbia area.

Former Toys for Tots Coordinator Dannie Weddle said it's important to understand the work that goes into providing for those in need. 

"We don't do this to glorify ourselves, we do this because giving to these families is important," Weddle said. "You always get that one family that comes in and you remember why you started doing this in the first place."

Barnes said officials from the storage facility contacted her shortly after the incident happened.

"It's heartbreaking. I got the phone call and when I got there, I found that 12 huge boxes had been taken," Barnes said. "They tore into them and whatever is left, a lot of it's damaged."

Harold Faughn is also a coordinator for Toys for Tots. He said about 75 percent of what they've collected since January is now gone.

"I'm shocked. I don't understand how you can take that much from a child like that," Faughn said.

The group is hoping that the community will step up to help fill the gap in toys left by the incident.

"At this point we just need help, we need people to go to our website and help us because we are doing our best to provide for these kids and we will," Barnes said.

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