Police officers, fire-fighters and animal control officers are joining forces together to collect gifts for sick children -- kicking off the annual 911 Gives Hope For the Holidays Toy Drive Friday morning.
With this year’s fundraiser having more weight to it than usual -- taking place in the middle of a pandemic with kids now positive with or recovering from the virus, needing some extra cheer.
"With the Covid and everything, more and more kids are in the hospital,” said animal control officer Kelly Yarde, “And if we can just brighten up their day a little bit -- that makes a huge difference to these kids."
And 911 Gives Hope board members are grateful to host the event, even if socially distanced -- after losing more than 100,000 in giveback money after Guns and Hoses was cancelled in April.
"So this right here -- we're hoping that we'll make up,” said Chief Billy Bolin of the Evansville Police Department. “At least for kids that are in the hospital for the next year -- we'd still like to get them a lot."
Now the goal is to get an entire truck filled with toys and toddlers and teenagers are especially in need of gifts this year.
"I really think our kids have just been deprived of so much this year in 2020,” said special agent Nate Jazyk. “The last thing we want to do is deprive a sick kid that's in the hospital this holiday with a chance put a smile on their face by giving him a chance to have a toy that is collected out here this weekend."
Toys can be dropped off at the East and West Side Walmarts and the Henderson Chevrolet until Sunday, Dec. 6th.