AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – For a decade, the Northside Toy Drive has been bringing joy to local children and raising their spirits during the holiday season and as December draws near, they are working hard to make sure area kids have a Merry Christmas.
Founder and President of the Northside Toy Drive, Elton Bradley II, said the toy drive has grown from helping 25 kids to over 4,000.
“It really shows when something is bigger than you and you keep god in the forefront, he will continue to bless it,” said Bradley.
Bradley said getting these toys into the hands of kids for Christmas brings a range of emotions.
“When this child walks in, they see an opportunity to go on a shopping spree and the goal of it is to separate the kid and the parent and we assign them a volunteer. It’s for them to go out and get that gift that they have been looking for all year. It’s the most fulfilling moment for me throughout the year to know that we are helping people and just to see the reactions on the parent’s faces from tears to laughter and just appreciation,” said Bradley.
He said there are several ways you can donate toys.
“We have 20 drop spots throughout the city at various locations and then our biggest fundraiser is the black tie affair. As everyone comes in their tuxedoes and gowns, they drop off a gift, that is how we are able to accumulate so many gifts to provide for the city of Amarillo,” said Bradley.
The Northside Toy Drive Black Tie Affair is on December 16th with the toy drive happening the next day on December 17th, with no registration for the giveaway.
Bradley added he hopes the toy drive eventually expands past Amarillo.
“If you would have told me 10 years ago that a ballroom would be sold out in four days, I would not have believed you. If you would have told me 25 kids, that we would give to 25 kids, I would have continued to be that way, but now we are at 4,000. Hopefully one day, we’ll be in the coliseum handing out gifts,” added Bradley.
On top of providing toys for area kids, the Northside Toy Drive also gives out $1,000 scholarships for two graduating high school seniors every year. Bradley said this helps those seniors with trade school, college education or whatever that case might be to help them pursue those career goals.
Bradley added they also do a Chill and Grill event, which is a community bar-b-que to bring the community together.
He said everything about the toy drive is a celebration of being in a position to bless up.