Teddy bears decorated and donated as part of Robins' annual Christmas extravaganza

Scores of teddy bears, adorned with all manner of accessories and additions, lined the blank walls of the class room. Stockings, stuffed and surrounded by eye-popping toys, candy, trinkets, covered the tabletops and part of the floor.

All were turned over to the Houston County Salvation Army on Wednesday morning as the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center's contracting directorate — joined by people from additional units across Robins Air Force Base — staged its 21st annual Christmas extravaganza.

Salvation Army Capt. Larry Gibson accepted the 250 bears and 200 stockings. Gibson said 646 families with 1,595 children have signed up for assistance this holiday season. Another 46 families are on a waiting list.

"This won't cover everything," he said as he looked at the meeting room jammed with the festive, colorful gifts. "But it will make a wonderful dent in it. It will be a big help. Without people like this and others, there is no way we could do it all."

Larinda Tate was the point of contact for the effort. She said the responses this year were fantastic.

"We just had an overwhelming outpouring of joy and love for the community," Tate added. "We're so proud of our people."

The Teddies and stockings were arranged by organization with awards given to the most original. One bear was riding in a toy vehicle clutching books and candy. Another bear was reclining in a beautifully lined basket holding a story book for girls along with other items.

One stocking was anchored to a University of Georgia canvass chair clutching other gifts and surprises.

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