The sheriff’s office has collected and handed out toys for the past nine years and hopes to give out more this year.
“We always give away 1,000 toys,” Lt. Lewis Blanchard said. “Our goal is to give at least 1,500 (this year).”
In addition to putting a smile on children’s faces at Christmas, the toy drive strengthens police relationships in the neighborhoods and gives children a chance to interact with a uniformed officer, Blanchard said, adding that he hopes to see all officers have “more than a 2-second exchange” with families.
Sheriff Richard Roundtree and Santa Claus will join deputies when they head to a number of housing projects and several other neighborhoods with bags of goodies Monday.
“There are always lots of smiles,” Blanchard said.
The sheriff’s office has never run out of toys before, but it does have a backup plan just in case. Any child who does not have a present will be given a ticket and an officer will return at a later time with a toy.
The sheriff’s office is collecting toys at several locations, including The Country Club Dance Hall & Saloon on Washington Road, which is also raising money and has promised to match donations up to $3,000 and buy toys with the money.
Toys, which are given to children ages 1 to 16, must be new and unwrapped. Toy guns or other weapons won’t be accepted.
Reach Bianca Cain Johnson at (706) 823-3486