Hazelhurst, Miss. (WLBT) -Christmas is right around the corner and one Hazlehurst Woman helps grant holiday wishes for impoverished families in central Mississippi through Toys for Tots. The program provides toys to children whose parents cannot afford to buy them gifts. 3 on your side’s Patrice Clark highlights her push to help the needy in several counties have a Merry Christmas. She is Mississippi Strong.
Meet Deonka Boozier Mazie. The Navy Veteran is the Toys for Tots Local Area Coordinator for Copiah, Lincoln, Lawrence, Simpson and Yazoo Counties.
A job that requires her to oversee multiple volunteers and thousands donated today every year as well as get the word about the need for donations.
“I am so passionate about it because I don't want to see no child without Christmas.”
She knows all too well about the heartbreak that comes along with not having gifts under the tree.
“Yes, there were some Christmases where my own kids didn't have Christmas presents because I couldn't afford it.”
Having gone through that rough time sparked a desire to work for Toys for Tots in New Orleans for one year. She then continued her mission of helping Families who may need a little extra help providing Christmas toys for their children in the Magnolia State.
“God keeps me going because this is my ministry. I am an outreach person, and I try to be out in the community giving back.”
In the five years as coordinator, Mazie says her team has gone from serving 500 children to 2,950..
“What warms my hear is to see a child excited about a gift. Excited and saying oh my god I got what I wanted. Oh my God, I got a car a truck or a bike.”
This year the demand to help infants to teenagers living at or below the poverty line has grown and more donations are needed than ever before.
“These are some of the toys we have collected throughout the last two months. We have collected over 2,000 toys so far, but we are in the of 8,000 more. Every dollar, every toy count, and our kids will be very, very appreciative.”
A goal Maize says she and her team will keep reaching for until the children get the toys they need.
“I will continue to fight. As long as I have breath in my body I will continue to fight for these kids to have a Christmas.”