Sheriff’s Office holds annual Toy Drive and Cops for Kids event

Published 4:26 pm Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Two local Walmart stores were filled with law enforcement officers Saturday as they looked to bring smiles to the faces of children throughout the city.

It was the 25th annual Fraternal Order of Police Cops for Kids and eighth annual Toy Drive events Saturday, Dec. 10, sponsored by the Suffolk Sheriff’s Office.

Suffolk Sheriff E.C. Harris, Sheriff’s Office Community Engagement Coordinator Katie A. Jones and FOP Lodge 41 Trustee Allan Iversen were on hand for the busy day at Suffolk Walmart located at 1200 N Main St. and each took time to speak about the importance of the events.

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“This is our eighth annual toy drive, we’re doing them at both Walmarts. We started in 2014, I believe it was,” Sheriff Harris said. “We collect toys and then we distribute them to local charities, churches, schools, throughout those eight years so they can get it out to the children in need.”

The Sheriff said this was one of their best years for the program.

“We just now got here, from businesses and different people donating toys, that we’re shooting for probably around 6,000 toys total and we’ll get bicycles and all kinds of stuff,” Harris said. “Next week, we’ll get it out to the different places to make sure that the kids have a nice Christmas.”

FOP Lodge 41 Trustee Allan Iversen said the FOP Cops for Kids event works to help families that are going through rough times.

“We want to try and help them out as much as possible,” said Iversen. “So we get anywhere from, the smallest amount was 10 kids one year and the largest was 30. And it all depends on donations that we received from the community so we can give back. This year we’re doing 19 children and they are going around with officers from Suffolk Police Department and Suffolk Sheriff’s Office.”

He said each child has a limit of about $100 each.

“We’ve had a large turnout this year,” Iversen said. “The kids are having fun.”

Iversen said overall goal of the Cops for Kids event is to assist these families and to let them know they care.

“Law enforcement isn’t just out there arresting people. We all have hearts, we all have families, and we love to help,” he said. “None of these officers are being paid, this is all on time off… It’s one of those things that even though we’re retired, we still want to help.”

The children are the main reason the FOP holds its program.

“The kids seem to get the worst of it and we want them to know that there’s people out there other than the families that care,” he said. “And that’s our goal is to let them know that we care.”

Likewise, Community Outreach Coordinator Katie A. Jones spoke on the overall goal of the Toy Drive event as well.

“To do what the Sheriff’s Office always does, we’re always out in the community helping others,” she said. “And that’s what we look forward to doing.”