Earlier this year, Southern Girls Outlet owner Crystal Willis approached the Tallassee City Council about hosting a Halloween Festival in the downtown area, and about hosting a toy drive for kids of all ages.
The council approved both measures. The Halloween Festival was a success, and now she and organizers have achieved the toy drive with positive results.
"It is going great," Willis said. "We had 33 kids that our customers and our store adopted and bought Christmas for."
For weeks, organizers collected gifts for area children who might otherwise miss out on Christmas this year.
"We collected tons of toys and money was also donated," Willis said.
While a lot of time and effort went into bringing the toy drive to fruition, Willis said it was all worth it.
"The looks on the parent's faces and the tears in their eyes made every bit of this worthwhile," she said.
Willis said she could not have fulfilled the long list of Christmas gifts without help from the community.
"We couldn't have done this without our amazing customers," she said.
Southern Girls Outlet opened at 301 Barnett Blvd. in June and over the last 6 months, Willis has worked hard to give back to the community that welcomed her with open arms.
"Tallassee has been really good to us," Willis said. "I have noticed that Tallassee doesn't seem to have much for the kids to do, or do much for the kids."
Willis said it isn't hard to put herself in the shoes of someone who may be going through difficult times this holiday season and she wanted to ease that burden.
"I'm a young mom and I have struggled in my life and I know how hard it can be, we just wanted to bless families this year," she said.