Dr. Joshua Best and Lane Regional Medical Center report that more than 800 items were put into a collection box over a two-week period from July 13-24 thanks to a fundraiser benefiting area families in need.

“The Christmas in July toy and uniform drive exceeded our expectations, and these items will go a long way toward helping boys and girls in need throughout our region,” said Best, a local OB-GYN at Bayou Regional Women’s Clinic in Zachary. “We look forward to making this an annual event and are appreciative of everyone’s generosity.”

All items collected were distributed by Zachary Community Helpers and Mary Bellcase, the program’s volunteer director for nearly 30 years, and her team.

The Community Helpers have identified the families to receive the age-appropriate toys and uniforms.

“Not included in the final tally were five, 13-gallon bags filled with a variety of small toys — too many to count,” Bellcase said. “Each of these five bags was given to large families with children who will enjoy them.”

A breakdown of the donations included: 185 school uniform tops; 152 school uniform bottoms; 88 books; 64 outdoor, physical activity and/or sporting goods-related games and toys; 63 baby dolls, action or transforming figures; 58 cars or trucks and bicycles, scooters or wagons; 55 miscellaneous items; 31 puzzles; 30 electronic items such as games and cameras or music players; 28 traditional board, card or dice games; 25 sets of art supplies, crafts or crayons; 15 building sets; five costumes; and the five bags of small toys.