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Tenn. stores collect Toys for Tots

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - Two stores operated by the Fowler Bros. Cos. here, The Furniture Shoppe and The Patio Shop, are partnering with the local Marine Toys for Tots Campaign this holiday season.
     Both retailers will help raise funds and collect toys for needy children in the Chattanooga area.
     The campaign, called Pass It Forward, kicked off at a Stickley Truckload Preview Party at The Furniture Shoppe held Nov. 1. The local Marine campaign coordinator, Staff Sgt. Greg Clemens, and Capt. Joshua Mills attended the launch.
     Carter Fowler, fifth generation manager of the two retailers, said the effort fits in with the company's holiday tradition because of a story the family tells about his grandfather, Calvin Fowler. In 1949, a teacher at a small schoolhouse on nearby Signal Mountain visited the elder Fowler and told him that because their families were poor, the 22 students were not expecting any toys that year.
     "My grandfather rescued Christmas that year with a surprise visit from Santa with gifts for every single student ... and even their brothers and sisters at home who were too young to attend school," Carter Fowler said.
     A portion of sales at The Furniture Shoppe and The Patio Shop will be donated to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation through December, with all funds going to help local families. In addition, donations of money or of new, unwrapped toys can be dropped off in collection boxes at the stores.

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