Residents can drop off toys for kids in need this holiday season at more than 50 different locations.
By ZANE CLARK
Those in Burlington County looking for a way to give back to those in need this holiday season won’t have to look far, all courtesy of the Burlington County Sheriff’s Department.
For more than two decades, the Burlington County Sheriff’s Department has held its annual holiday toy drive to allow residents and businesses in Burlington County to drop off toys at convenient locations to brighten the holiday season for local children in need.
With the drive now back again for its 21st year, this holiday season the department has arranged more than 50 drop-off locations throughout Burlington County where supporters can easily leave their donations.
According to Burlington County Sheriff Jean Stanfield, last year’s drive was able to collect 1,000 toys, and this year she and her department are hoping to collect even more.
“It’s amazing,” Stanfield said. “It’s all nice toys and really lovely gifts that will be the highlight of a child’s holiday. You can’t see that without it being very touching inside.”
Stanfield said the program started around the time she first joined the department as undersheriff, and every year since, she’s seen the program grow.
Stanfield said she believes supporters of the program have helped spread it through word of mouth over the years, and many business have also been using holiday office parties to collect toys as well.
“People are always so generous every year,” Stanfield said. “We always worry if we’re going to have enough, but people always come through. It’s an amazing process.”
Stanfield also said the program fits into her philosophy for the Sheriff’s Department, which handles traditional law enforcement duties but also tries to focus on helping the public with general services.
“What really makes us unique is we do a lot of outreach to the community with our programs for youth and seniors. We want to be responsive to what’s going on in the world,” Stanfield said.
This year’s collection drive is set to continue through Dec. 19. When the drive concludes, officers from the department will gather the donations and present them to several human service agencies that work with the Sheriff’s Department to distribute the donations to those kids who need them most.
“We don’t get to see the kids who get the gifts, but it’s not too hard to imagine their faces when you see the nice gifts that are collected,” Stanfield said.
Local drop-off location in Moorestown includes:
• County Corner; Rt. 38 Moorestown- Moorestown Mall
A complete list of drop-off locations, including municipal buildings, police departments, county government buildings and private businesses, can be found online at www.co.burlington.nj.us.
For more information or to donate toys, contact the Burlington County Sheriff Department’s Community Services Unit at (609) 265–3788.