Beginning Tuesday, the department will register families for its annual Toys for Tots program. The gifts will be collected at drop-off locations around town and delivered to needy families throughout the city.
Public safety specialist Debra Hoyett, who coordinates the project with help from Lt. Cedric Anderson and other officers of the Auburn Police Department, said she is always pleased with the community’s participation.
“We have a lot of good people from Auburn and Opelika,” Hoyett said. “I just always thank the Lord for it.”
According to the department, parents who wish to register must provide identification—either a child’s Social Security card or birth certificate—and a lease or rental agreement and current utility bill.
Hoyett said the program is open to everyone who is a resident of Auburn.
Auburn Fire Chief Lee Lamar said the fire division on Magnolia Street always agrees to be a drop-off location because it is centrally located.
He said the program is an opportunity to have a positive impact on children, who can see people care about them through the “multiple truckloads” of toys.
“It’s a very genuine gift from people’s hearts,” Lamar said.
Police officers will pick up the donations from the drop-off locations and take them to the fire division, where they will be sorted into categories based on age.
Helpers will put packages together for families and deliver the surprises the week before Christmas.
Public Safety Director Bill James said the gifts are different each year.
“You just name it,” James said. “We get bikes and all kinds of toys.”
When buying a donation, Hoyett, Lamar and James said some important things to consider are the durability of the toy, the age it is intended for and whether a child would like it.
Toys for Tots is a worthwhile program, James said, because a gift can be purchased for a relatively small amount, but the gesture means much more to a child who might feel left out during the holidays.
“The child gets the gift, but the person who enables the child to get that gift receives a blessing as well,” James said. “It’s just a great program that provides kids with something who might not get anything for Christmas.”
Those wishing to donate can bring new, unwrapped toys for children ages 1–10 to any Auburn fire station, police station and the two Uncle Bob’s Self-Storage locations at 1231 Gatewood Drive and 2020 S. College St.
Donations are accepted any time before Nov. 30.
Questions about Toys for Tots can be addressed to Debra Hoyett at 334-501-3129.