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Dec. 16, 2016 - USA Medical Center staff donates two van loads of toys to Dumas Wesley Community Center

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MOBILE, Ala. -- Employees at the University of South Alabama Medical Center have been donating thousands of dollars in new, unwrapped toys to the Dumas Wesley Community Center every December for 15 years. The gifts are then used in a special toy sale.

On Thursday morning, Dec. 8, it took two vans and half a dozen people to deliver all of the gifts donated by Medical Center employees. USA Medical Center has been the largest donor for the sale for many years, according to leaders at the community center.

The toy sale, held each year in mid-December, allows at least 65 families an opportunity to buy new gifts for children at greatly reduced prices. Bicycles that might cost $50 at a local retailer will be priced at $15 or so during the special sale, organizers said.

A unique element to this sale is that the parents are able to pick out items they know their children will like. “It’s truly inspiring how generous our employees are,” said Anita Shirah, who leads the Human Resources Department and the toy drive at the Medical Center. “Many of our staff members have families and children of their own, yet they still take time to buy things for others.”

The Dumas Wesley Community Center staff selects those who are eligible to join the sale, pulling heavily from the surrounding Crichton Community in Mobile. The center is a neighborhood based non-profit organization. The majority of households surrounding Dumas Wesley are headed by single mothers with an average family income of less than $10,000 per year. Nearly 70 percent of the clients served directly by the center are considered low-income.

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