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Children all over the Metro Detroit area will open up their presents in a few days on Christmas morning. Then there are others who will not have anything under the tree.

But thanks to Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores and his generous donation of over 9,000 toys, bicycles and helmets through the Marines Corps Reserve Toys for Tots initiative, parents in need will be able to provide their children with a nice Christmas.

“The holidays should be a special time for kids and their families, filled with hope and happiness,” said Gores. “We are proud to support Toys for Tots and the important work they do in Michigan.”

 Gores began his mission to provide toys to children in the Detroit, Flint and Saginaw areas in 2006, but as a “Secret Santa delivering more than 98,000 toys and servicing over 32,000 children. He joined the Toys for Tots program in 2009 and agreed to reveal who the generous donor was in order to encourage others to contribute.

“For Tom and Holly Gores, this is a passion,” said deputy Vice President if the Marine Toys for Tots program David Cooper. “He is so ingrained with the city, region and state, that he wants to be apart of events like this. He grew up here and the state of Michigan is in his heart.”

 Thousand of local Detroiters lined up outside of Shed No.5 in Eastern Market to pick their choice of toys and bicycles. Chareese Traylor was one of the recipients. Her home burned down less than three weeks ago and trying to provide adequate housing for her two sons and give them a special Christmas was tough on her.

“Blessings come in many disguises,” Traylor said. “Just three weeks ago, we lost everything. As the adult, it’s my responsibility to provide a home again for my boys. But how do I tell them that I can’t give them a Christmas? This event was right on time and we want to thank Mr. Gores and the Pistons.”

 The Toys for Tots program has been in existence since 1947 and has assisted over 244 million children with toys, books, bicycles and other memorable gifts nationwide. Since Gores has been a part of the team here in Michigan, he has contributed over 80,000 toys. The amount of families served has grown each year and the Gores family looks to continue their much needed work in the community.

 “Tom couldn’t be here today, but if he could, he would have,” said Grosse Ile fire chief Duncan Murdock and Gores’ brother-in-law. “He and Holly would have loved to see the smiles on the faces of the parents and children here. They are more than just the owners of the Pistons: they are community leaders.”

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