NEWS RELEASE 20-140 - NOVEMBER 16, 2020
Sheriff Tom Knight is pleased to announce the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office is hosting its fourth annual holiday toy drive benefitting the 12th Judicial Circuit of Florida’s Guardian ad Litem program.
There are currently more than 1,500 children from throughout Sarasota, Manatee and DeSoto counties who have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect and as such, appointed a Guardian ad Litem. Because the children range in age from newborn to 18 years old with varying needs, the holiday initiative is focused solely on toys and gift cards and does not include clothing or stuffed animals. All donations must be new and unwrapped. The initiative begins Tuesday, December 1 and continues until Tuesday, December 15.
Because several holiday events are cancelled due to COVID19, the sheriff’s office is making this year’s toy drive extra special by getting Santa Claus involved. On Saturday, December 12, Santa will make an appearance at the agency’s headquarters to collect donations. The event will take place from 9:00 a.m. to noon, just outside the main entrance. Donors are invited to drive-by and drop their donation off with Santa and in return, receive an SCSO swag bag. Donors are encouraged to wear masks and can take a quick selfie with Santa while their vehicle is in “park.” There will be no on-site parking and donors are asked to remain in their vehicles. For those unable to attend the donation drop-off event, toys can be delivered any day of the week, between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.
The toy drive initiative launched in 2017 and to date, has led to the collection of more than 3,500 gifts including nearly $9,000 in gift cards. This year the sheriff’s office hopes to surpass totals from previous years and collect even more gifts for children in need. Thanks to a partnership with the Sarasota Memorial Hospital Public Safety Department, hospital personnel are once again generously donating a holiday tree which will serve as the collection site for the toy drive. The tree will be delivered to the sheriff’s office on Tuesday, November 24 at 11:00 a.m.*
“This event has really become the highlight of our year, every year,” commented Sheriff Tom Knight. “I continue to be amazed by the outpouring of support from our employees and community who love to bring joy to deserving children during the holiday season.”
The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office headquarters is located at 6010 Cattleridge Blvd. For more information, contact the agency’s Community Affairs Office at 941.861.4005.
*Members of the media are invited to attend the tree delivery on November 24 at 11:00 a.m., as well as the donation drop-off event Saturday, December 12 from 9:00 a.m. to noon.