AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Christmas is still a few days away, but the Northside Toy Drive decided to bring Christmas early to lots of children on Saturday. The organization hosted its annual toy drive for the tenth year.
“We want every child to take something cuddly, so we have stuff animals for them for those moments, just to decompress,” Northside Toy Drive board member, Hugh Session Jr, said. “Every child should walk out of here with at least one toy. Their choice, there is no leadership from parents, no leadership from volunteers, all in their discretion.”
Session said that this event takes a full year of planning and hard work.
“We actually picked back up and convened as board members in January and start planning for the year again. We set up all our sponsorships, we set up all our partnerships and that’s kind of how it works,” Session said. “We start our table sales in April, I believe it is, and then we just reach out to our community outlets.”
Northside Toy Drive volunteer, Jesand Sylev, said that her favorite part of the day is seeing the kids being able to leave with a toy. She added that it’s important for events like this to happen in the community so people who are going through a hard time know they are not alone.
“I think with the times we are facing today, I think it’s just important to make sure they know that help is out there. That they are not alone in the situations that they may be facing,” Sylev said. She also added that “there are other people in the world, whether we know them or not, who are willing to help and support whatever their doing or whatever their going through, I think having that lifeline is important.”
Session said that ten years ago, the Northside Toy Drive started with only a small trailer filled with toys. After years of putting the event together for the community, the event now fills a gymnasium. Session added that the organization has the desire to continue to give back year after year.
“One thing we all feel is we have a need to give back and that’s what serves us. We all decided this is what we are going to do. You know you get your calling, your god calling you just can’t run and that’s where we are, we are not running anymore,” Session said.
According to Session thousands of toys were given out at the toy drive and the line to receive a toy reached past the school and towards NW 15th street and Dumas Highway.
While the children waited to grab that special toy, they were able to receive hygiene bags and a new coat, and meet a few Amarillo Police Department officers. The City of Amarillo public health also was at an event giving out flu vaccines. Families were served food by APD after grabbing their new toys.