Village Strong Community Outreach provides parade of presents in Picayune to those in need

Published 4:48 pm Tuesday, December 21, 2021

The Village Strong Community Outreach Program hosted its second annual Christmas Toy Drive Parade Tuesday morning, just days before Christmas. With the help of local police officers and community members, children in Picayune got to see Mickey Mouse, the Grinch, a minion, Olaf and Santa Claus as they team paraded through the city to hand out toys.

The focus of the program is to provide children of low-income families with free toys and stuffed animals for Christmas.

Wanda Worley with Village Strong said she started the program because she knows what it’s like to go without. She was once was homeless at a young age. Because of that fact, she knows about the experience of not receiving gifts on holidays, especially Christmas.

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“Because of what I went through I want to make sure no child has to go through that, even if it is opening up just one gift,” said Worley.

“Because I know what it’s like…I want to take what I’ve been through and turn it into something positive,” she said.

This year the program was able to provide more than 1,000 toys to local children in the eastern part of Picayune.

As the officers and volunteers toured the city, the faces of children lit up with smiles when the volunteers and popular characters handed them toys and stuffed animals.