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Hospital collects more than 900 toys in drive
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Effingham Health System CEO Norma Jean Morgan, far right, and Michael Murphy, applaud Staff Sgt. Timothy Riddle and Lance Cpl. Faustino Delarosa as they came to Effingham Hospital to pick u the Toys for Tots donations. - photo by Photo by Pat Donahue

Thanks to Effingham Health System employees, hundreds of kids will get a little something under the Christmas tree.

EHS collected 903 toys for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots drive, with Staff Sgt. Timothy Riddle and Lance Cpl. Faustino Delarosa picking up the presents to deliver around the Coastal Empire.

“In a world that is turned upside down right now, we’ve had a few trying days, what better thing to do to lift our spirits than to do something for somebody else,” said Effingham Health System CEO Norma Jean Morgan. “What’s even better than that is to do something for a child.”

This is the hospital’s third year with Toys for Tots, and strategic business liaison Michael Murphy heard the Toys for Tots pitch at a Rotary Club meeting.

“I thought, ‘this would be really neat for us to do,’” he said.

Murphy acknowledged he loves competition, but he didn’t want to pit teams against teams.

“We were all after the same goal,” he said.

The hospitals various locations and branches were challenged to bring in as many toys as possible. Effingham Family Medicine at Rincon topped the list with 209 toys. Effingham Extended Care Facility was next with 171, and Effingham Family Medicine in Guyton brought in 180 toys. New, unwrapped toys were collected during October, November and December.

Murphy also took cash donations and turned those into purchases for toys. He went to a local store that offered a toy at half-price for every toy bought at regular price. When he was finished, after three trips, he had $1.07 left over — just enough to buy a Christmas stocking for a $1, with tax.

“What are the odds of spending exactly $190.40?” Murphy asked. “I appreciate everybody pitching in and doing their part.”

The hospital’s efforts also made an impression on Staff Sgt. Riddle, a California native who admitted he isn’t used to seeing this level of generosity. In his territory, which includes Chatham, Bryan and Liberty, he has distributed 4,000 toys.

“I am astounded at how much you collected,” he said. “This is amazing. All the support I have been getting is amazing. Seeing a community come together at the holidays impresses me. I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart.”