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Plan your LGBT holiday calendar

For the Kid in All of Us' Toy Party

A child’s delight for gifts is synonymous with the holiday season, and the cover for one of the biggest parties of the year is just one unwrapped toy.

After almost a decade, Toy Party has established itself as the largest event on Atlanta’s LGBT holiday calendar. Last year 4,000 attendees donated 6,000 toys. This year organizers expect attendance to surge by up to 1,000.

“This is our ninth year and it’s become an institution for the holiday season,” says Chris Bess, president of For the Kid in All of Us, the nonprofit that puts on Toy Party.

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Atlanta Police LGBT employee group collecting toys for Toy Party

Tis the season for giving and the Atlanta Police Department's LGBT employee alliance group is getting in the spirit by collecting toys for one of the gayest events of the the year — the annual Toy Party.

APD's LGBT liaisons Patricia Powell and Brian Sharp along with other gay employees, as well as straight allies, will be at Brushstrokes in Midtown at 1510 Piedmont Ave. on Nov. 27 and then at the Toys "R" Us at 1 Buckhead Loop Drive in Buckhead on Dec. 4, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at both locations. The Atlanta Police LGBT employee alliance group was formed this year shortly before Atlanta Pride.

They will be collecting unwrapped toys or gift cards worth $25 or more that will then be delivered to the AmericasMart on Dec. 4 for the 9th annual Toy Party and silent auction.

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‘Best year yet’ for Backpack in the Park; donations up 28 percent

2011 Backpack in the Park

This year's Backpack in the Park fundraiser was the “best year yet” and collected 1,826 backpacks for underprivileged school children, organizers announced today. Backpack in the Park was held on July 30 in Piedmont Park.

“This was by far our best year yet for Backpack in the Park,” said Chris Bess, president of For the Kid in All of Us, in a media release.

Donated backpacks increased 28 percent over 2010, the group noted.

“In addition to the backpacks — some 400 more than were donated last year! - we also collected $1,200 in gift cards,” Bess said. “It is so wonderful to see the smile on the kids’ faces when you hand them one of the backpacks. Now they are ready for their first day of school with all the tools they need to be successful! That’s what Backpack in the Park is all about.”

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Toy Party announces totals; see how many presents you helped gather for needy kids

The 8th annual Toy Party & Silent Auction, hosted by For The Kid In All of Us, a 100 percent volunteer-run charitable organization, was an even bigger blessing this year due to the rough economic climate.

On Wednesday, organizers announced proceeds from the event. Over 4,000 people came out on Dec. 5 to AmericasMart 3 for this special event which brought in 4,500 toys and gift cards. The silent auction, which consisted of diverse items that were donated, raised $37,000.

President of For the Kid in All of Us Jorge Esteban said that “while the economy is still recovering, a number of children and families are going without this season. We are very proud that For the Kid in All of Us is able to provide some joy and happiness for children who would otherwise have nothing to celebrate during the holiday season.”