Dr. Joshua Best, Lane Regional Medical Center and Zachary Community Helpers are working together on the region’s first Christmas in July toy and uniform drive in an effort to bring smiles to children’s faces.

From July 13-24, area residents are urged to bring new or gently used school uniforms and toys to the collection box in the lobby of Lane Regional Medical Center, 6300 Main St., Zachary.

“What a better time to clean out those closets and donate forgotten toys and outgrown uniforms than in the summertime,” said Best, an OB-GYN at the Bayou Regional Women’s Clinic. “I urge anyone who has the ability to make a contribution to donate so that they can be part of bringing some summertime cheer to underprivileged boys and girls in our region.”

All items collected will be donated to Zachary Community Helpers, a volunteer organization led by Mary Bellcase since 2008.

Bellcase and her team work to identify families in need or who might be having a tough year by overseeing the deliveries of age-appropriate toys and uniforms to those in need in and around Zachary, Best said.

Toys should be appropriate for infants, children and teens up to age 15 and should be new or slightly used. Toys that are broken or games that have missing pieces, sharp edges or that encourage violence will not be accepted.

Uniforms should be new or in good condition — no holes, rips or stains — and should include khaki bottoms and navy or white uniform shirts of all sizes.

Suggested toys include books; baby dolls or action/transforming figures; bicycles, cars, scooters, trucks and wagons; traditional board, card and dice games; crafts and crayons; art supplies; building sets; costumes; outdoor/sporting goods, games or toys for use in physical activities; puzzles; science kits; and musical or electronics, such as games, cameras or players.

Monetary donations to purchase additional toys and uniforms can be mailed directly to Zachary Community Helpers, 7345 Lower Zachary Road, Zachary, LA 70791. Put “Christmas in July” in the memo line.

For information, call Bellcase at (225) 654-6494.