UNITY toy drive

Christmas is just around the corner and the men and women at Tallassee's newly formed Understanding Needs Improves Tomorrow's You (UNITY) are hoping to brighten the holidays for local children who may not otherwise receive gifts. The charity organization is collecting gifts for area children from ages 1 through 13 years old now through Dec. 5.

While the organization hopes to serve as many children in the community as possible, resources are limited and early registration for this program is highly encouraged.

"We do have five spots still open," coordinator Sonya Thornton said. "But that could change at any time."

The number of children the group can help depends on the number of donations it receives.

"If we get more donations, we can do more," Thornton said.

The Thorntons are active members of their church and community. In recent months they have seen people fall on hard times, and while there are some organizations in place to assist those in need during the holidays, there is always room for more support.

"Over the months from different members of the community there has been lots of talk about factories cutting hours and even laying some employees off," Thornton said. "We just wanted the community to have an extra group they could reach out to. This city does an excellent job of helping with these situations like Toys for Tots and Walmart grants but there is only so much to go around and there can never be too much help."

Courtney and Sonya Thornton created UNITY ITC to bring the community together and assist other local charity groups which at times can become overwhelmed.

"Whatever we have to do to do our part," Courtney Thornton said. "There are a lot of great organizations in the city and we want to take some of that workload and help do our part."

Donations for the first annual UNITY Christmas Toy Drive made be dropped off at

5386 Friendship Rd. in Tallassee or those who wish to participate can contact 334-415-0697. If you cannot drop off your donations, the folks at UNITY will be happy to help with that, too.

"We would be more than happy to pick up if that's more convenient for them," Thornton said.

If you know of a child who is need of assistance, email UNITY ITC at servantstowel@gmail.com