AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — One local organization continuing its annual tradition of giving back to the community and fundraising this weekend as thousands of kids and their families packed the Palo Duro High School gymnasium to receive some Christmas spirit in the form of the 9th annual Northside Toy Drive, in which kids ages two through 12 were able to receive a toy.
Northside Toy Drive president and founder Elton Bradley II said the event has grown in the nine years that it has been happening.
“So we went from helping 25 kids to now helping over 3,000 kids. So it’s grown tremendously, and what that means to me is that it went from an individual to a team, and when you bring people together and when it’s bigger than you when it becomes bigger than you, it will grow to become bigger than you,” said Bradley.
Toys for the event are gathered through donations dropped off at drop spot, at the Black Tie Affair event held each year for the toy drive, or purchased with monetary donations.
Bradley said even though it’s called “The Northside Toy Drive,” the toy drive helps out kids and families across the Amarillo area and he said they are always looking for more volunteers to be a part of the toy drive and for more businesses to place their drop spots.
Sherry Philyaw, who has volunteered with the organization for seven years said that at Saturday’s event, the organization had four full truckloads of toys, compared to the small trailer the first year.
Bowden Jones Jr., secretary of the Northside Toy Drive added it does the heart well to know you are helping a kid have a Merry Christmas.
“The most fun we have is to see these kids come and pick out a toy of their choosing, they see all of these toys. Their eyes light up, they have smiles on their faces and they get to choose what they want. It does the heart really, really well,” said Jones.
Philyaw said the Northside Toy Drive is what the Christmas spirit is all about.
“No matter what’s going on in the world today, Christmas for a kid is still Christmas and to see them happy makes us happy and it’s a great feeling,” said Philyaw.
There were more than 100 volunteers helping at Saturday’s event.