The Pine Bluff Police will be spreading joy and goodwill Saturday as they pass out more than 400 bags of toys at four locations.
The second annual Police Toy Drive is being spearheaded again this year by Sgt. Lynn Wright and Lt. Cassandra Briggs-McAfee.
The idea for the toy drive came last year with Wright and Briggs-McAgee, who was a sergeant them, got to talking about what they and the department could do to help children have a Merry Christmas.
Wright, who retired from the Marine Corps after 20 years said in his last couple of years, he was in charge of the Marine Corps. annual Toys for Tots campaign.
“We don’t have a Toys for Tots here so we decided to do our own version,” Wright said.
They said this year they have collected more than $32,000 worth of toys and bikes, thanks in large part to L & R Distributing which provided almost $30,000 worth of toys.
“We got a $1,000 donation from Insley’s Towing, a $1,000 donation from Evergreen Packaging and Ms. Wanda Bateman also made a big donation,” Wright said.
In addition, Briggs-McAfee said money was raised by selling tickets for the Department’s Blue Tie Affair.
“We’re also helping five families this year,” she said. “We ask each of them for a wish list and we’re going to do what we can with that and deliver it to those families. We also are participating in the Adopt a Soldier program.”
For the last several days, off-duty officers bagged toys in individual bags, some for infants and toddlers, some for grade school kids, boys and girls, and some for teens. Those bags will be divided up by location and Wright and Briggs-McAfee asked that parents and children come to the location that is closest to where they live.
Wright and Briggs-McAfee both said they want to make sure as many kids as possible can get toys and asked people not to come to several different locations and try to take advantage of them.
“We’re going to raffle the bikes off on a first-come, first-served basis based on age,” Briggs-McAfee said. “The kids will have to do it themselves and be present. Parents can’t sign up for kids who are not there.”
The times and locations for the toy giveaway are as follows:
1. 11 a.m. to 12 noon at Jack Robey Jr. High Parking Lot
2. 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Central Park (23rd & Hickory)
3. 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at 2103 South Blake Street (Old Blake Street Cleaners Parking Lot)
4. 3:45 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. at Martin Luther King Park (Rhinehart and Oakland Park Dr)
Police ask that residents pick up the toys at the location closest to their residence.