Be the helping hands

Published 9:50 pm Monday, December 10, 2018

During November and December, it seems like we report on dozens of different efforts to make sure every child finds toys under the tree on Christmas morning.

One group of people we’d like to highlight in this space, though, is our law enforcement officers, who always go beyond the call of duty to make sure to bring a little Christmas cheer to our city’s youngest citizens.

On Dec. 1, Suffolk Police Department officers were out in force at both of the city’s Walmart stores to collect toys for Toys for Tots. They were collecting new, unwrapped children’s toys. Some people who knew about it in advance drove up and handed off bags of toys. Other people saw the drive happening when they went in the store, picked up toys while they were shopping and donated them as they walked out.

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In all, 12 carloads of toys were donated that Saturday, including some toys that wouldn’t even fit in the cars, such as bicycles. Giant stuffed bears, footballs, playsets, building blocks and more were donated, as well as a few toy fire trucks, which we imagine elicited good-natured groans from the police officers.

Not to be outdone, this Saturday, the Suffolk Sheriff’s Office will have its own toy drive at the city’s two Walmart stores, and the toys they collect will go straight to students at three local elementary schools — Oakland, Pioneer and Elephant’s Fork. The toys will be distributed to the neediest families as determined by the schools.

The deputies are also asking donors to provide new, unwrapped toys that are suitable for elementary school-aged children, discouraging any firearm replicas. They will be at both Walmart stores from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“I hear it often in our city right now, that there’s a lot of people struggling,” Sheriff E.C. Harris told a reporter. “It’s important to do what we can and make sure the littles ones get something for Christmas.”

We encourage everyone who is able to support one or more of the many efforts going on this year. Together, we can all make sure each child knows the joy of gifts on Christmas.