By Sarrah Peters
The City of Gadsden Fire Department is currently accepting donations for its annual Toys From Santa program. Toys From Santa aims to provide toys for all disadvantaged children in Etowah County for Christmas.
“We don’t want to see any child go without,” said Gadsden Fire Department Chief Steve Carroll.
The Toys From Santa program began in conjunction with the Salvation Army but is now run solely by the fire department. Carroll said that the department has been working with the program for about 20 years.
Last year, the Toys From Santa program helped over 400 children
The program is accepting both monetary donations and toy donations, which can be dropped off at any Gadsden Fire Department station.
The donated toys are sorted by age range and distributed to applicants, which Carroll said there is no specific age range for, as the fire department is open to helping older kids with disabilities. To help more children, the monetary donations are used to bring some of the applicants on a shopping trip to Walmart, where they can select items they would like. Carroll said that Walmart allows the older children to pick out toys or other items besides toys.
However, Carroll said that the number of children they are able to give the shopping trip to depends on the amount donations received.
To raise money, the Gadsden Fire Department held a roadblock fundraiser in front of the Gadsden Mall on Friday, November 29, which was Black Friday. The roadblock raised about half the needed monetary donations.
Carroll said that Gadsden Mall is a major supporter of the Toys From Santa program, allowing the Gadsden Fire Department to set up a free booth by the food court to collect donations every weekend.
Other supporters include the Church of the Highlands, the Santa Claus Society, the Red Knights Motorcycle Club and many more businesses and individuals.
“We couldn’t do it without the giving nature of this community,” said Carroll.
For more information or to schedule a pickup for large quantities of new, unwrapped toys call 256-549-4566.