CSRA comes together to donate Christmas gifts for kids

Published: Dec. 13, 2022 at 1:50 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 16, 2022 at 1:45 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - In a year when inflation has taken its toll on millions of Americans, toy drives have become more important in an effort to make sure all kids have a gift this Christmas.

In Washington County

SANDERSVILLE, Ga. - The Empty Stocking Fund rocked once again, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office announced.

About 200 kids will receive gifts, and more than 100 bicycles have been distributed throughout Washington County.

Penny Grice and Renee Jordan have been volunteering their time for more than 25 years.

“We are so thankful for your commitment and dedication to making Christmas special for these kids,” the sheriff’s agency said on Facebook. “We love partnering with you and look forward to 2023. Have a Merry Christmas.”

In Burke County

WAYNESBORO - It’s a good year for the Burke County Sheriff’s Office toy drive, with toy donations and monetary donations far exceeding those of years past.

That’s thanks to many donors like Murphy, an 8-year-old boy who saved up his money to donate toys to those in need.

He’s one of many community members and businesses who have taken the steps to give back.

More than 120 riders showed up to support the Burke County Sheriff's Office ride for toys.
More than 120 riders showed up to support the Burke County Sheriff's Office ride for toys.(Contributed)

Earlier this month, the Burke County Sheriff’s Office held an inaugural charity motorcycle ride to raise money for the program.

More than 120 riders showed up to support the efforts and to enjoy a scenic 54-mile ride through Burke and Jenkins counties.

The ride raised almost $5,000.

The sheriff’s office says they collected more than ever, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the support of community members, local businesses, and even schools.

Hadley Harrison’s first-grade class at Edmund Burke Academy is among those contributing to the cause.

“Every year, I asked the kids to bring in one toy, and not only do they bring in one toy, but some of them also bring multiple toys,” she said.

She says they do it to show students that it’s better to give than receive.

“The joy you are feeling by doing this is a joy for someone else,” said Harrison. “That’s the type of joy we need to see in the Christmas season.”

It’s not just the students at Edmund Burke but the whole community, including A Child’s World Daycare Center.

Co-owner Shatoria Rackins said: “I come from a place of not having much as a kid, and so for me and my mom, she’s the other owner, it means a lot for us to be able to give back.”

Working at a daycare center shows them the importance firsthand.

“We get to see families who genuinely want to do and give to kids for Christmas, and it touches your heart when they don’t have it to give,” she said.

The sheriff’s office says they’re thankful for the chance to serve those in need.

Sgt. Anthony Bennerman, community outreach division assistant, said: “There are some people that are very unfortunate and legit needs help. To be able to do things like that and bring peace and happiness to those families, it means a lot to be able to serve our community.”

But real happiness comes from those who donate.

Rackins said: “We love children, and we love this community, so it was just the perfect combination.”

Harrison said: “To see the whole community come together and help Sheriff Williams do this for underprivileged families and kids is a joy that is deep in my heart.”

The sheriff’s office holiday giveaways didn’t end after the event, 20 kids had the opportunity to go with local deputies and spend $1,000 on Christmas gifts for Shop with a Cop.

At News 12

The Toys for Tots donations have grown in the lobby at News 12.
The Toys for Tots donations have grown in the lobby at News 12.(WRDW)

AUGUSTA, Ga. - News 12 hosted a drive for Toys for Tots, and the donations really grew,

Someone even donated a bike.

At the Savannah River Site

SRS employees load trucks full of toys to be delivered to multiple Salvation Army locations...
SRS employees load trucks full of toys to be delivered to multiple Salvation Army locations across the CSRA.(Contributed)

AIKEN, S.C. - Savannah River Site workers continued their Christmas tradition of giving to thousands of children.

The roughly 11,000 employees donated more than 20,000 toys and adopted 600 children for the Angel Tree program for this year’s campaign.

In addition to the toys collected, over $26,000 was raised, which surpassed the site’s original goal of $25,000.

During the annual SRS Toys for Tots celebration, SRS Angel Tree and Toys for Tots Chair Theresa Houston thanked employees for their generous donations and for helping make the campaign a continued success each year.

“Every year, SRS adopts the most angels and contributes the most dollars to the Toys for Tots campaign,” Houston said.

Since 1991, SRS employees have donated more than 400,000 toys to the SRS Toys for Tots and Angel Tree campaigns.