SAN BENITO — Once again the annual toy drive for children in need is back on.
On Tuesday, the San Benito Police Department gathered at Wal-Mart at 1126 W US-77 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and received toy donations from the community.
Next on Thursday they will once again be attending the Wal-Mart waiting for more donations.
“Before we were working with Toys for Tots we did toy drives within the police department. But we collaborate with them now,” Investigator Benisse Gomez said.
“We have serviced from 700 to 800 kids a year. The numbers have been increasing, I have seen a great amount of families come out,” she said.
Families are registered with Gomez and according to her she then contacts counselors from the San Benito School District requesting basic information of children known to be the neediest.
“They partner with me and know the needs of these families and together we create a list of students. My goal this year was 700 and we have surpassed that goal, we are at 764 toys right now,” Gomez said.
After toys are gathered a distribution date is set and families of the children are notified of when and where they can pick up their toy.
“The counselors help me distribute letters of where to pick up the toy and we give them a ticket. They bring the ticket over and we allow the child to choose their toy,” she said.
When this is done a blue Santa Claus is present for photo opportunities and snacks are distributed to the children.
Gomez said those who cannot make it out to the Wal-Mart locations can always stop by the police department and drop by their toy or hand it to a police officer.
“We are open 24/7 and they can stop by the lobby and we have a drop box in the front,” she said. “I would like to just encourage the public to come on out, it is technically a year around event, people can donate during the year. Bringing a smile to a child, that’s what it is all about,” Gomez said.
IF YOU GO
Toys for Tots drive
When: Dec. 5 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Where: Wal-Mart located at 1126 W US-77 in San Benito