Toy drive held to help low income families

Published 1:04 pm Saturday, December 4, 2021

First Step Learning Lab and Village Strong are collecting toys in preparation for a toy distribution effort in the Picayune area.

Wanda Worley, who owns First Step Learning Lab, said that last year the donations were enough to provide toys to about 400 children who live in low income areas of the city.   

Donations of new or gently used toys and money can be brought to her business, located at 214 North Curren Avenue Suite C or D from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to help with the effort.

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Worley said she hopes to double or triple the number of children who receive toys this year. She plans to utilize the help of officers with the Picayune Police Department to help wrap and distribute the toys to the east and south areas of Picayune, along with mobile home parks in the city and some areas within Nicholson. If anyone feels they need assistance directly from this effort, Worley asks those individuals to contact her via email at or

Her goal is to raise about $5,000. Worley said she has raised about $1,200 by Friday, but added that a number of toy donations have already been brought in.

All toys will be distributed on Dec. 21, as part of a parade that will include the volunteer police officers and other volunteers, some of which will be dressed up as characters such as Santa Claus, the Grinch and others. Worley said this year there will be more characters than last year, such as a unicorn. The parade will take place through the targeted distribution areas.

The deadline to donate to this effort is Dec. 17. Monetary donations can be made at Frist Step Learning Lab or at any bank by stating the donation will go to that organization’s effort.