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Toy drive deadline approaching

By Staff | Dec 4, 2014

Time is running out to donate gifts for the Cape Coral Fire Department’s Annual Toy Drive.

On Nov. 21, the department kicked off the donation collection at all of the 10 city fire stations. Donations of new unwrapped toys can be dropped off in collection bins set up at the sites.

The toy drive will run until Friday, at which point volunteers will help wrap the items.

The gifts are then divided between the Candlelighters of Southwest Florida, which works with chronic and terminally ill children, and Southwest Florida PODS – Parents of Down Syndrome – Angels.

Ellen Seeley, a spokeswoman for the CCFD, explained that the organizations were selected as the recipients of the drive because they work with area children, including families in the Cape.

“Certainly the department wants to support the community that supports us,” she said.

Last year, 72 families and 187 children benefited from the annual collection. According to Seeley, the public donated more than 600 gifts, with over 33 volunteers putting in nearly 140 hours in total.

As of Thursday, she was waiting on the final count for this year’s recipients.

“I think it’s going to be really close to last year,” Seeley said.

Donations for boys and girls of all ages, from newborn to 17 years old, are needed.

“We get a lot of things for small children,” she said. “We do get a lot of dolls and trucks and art kits, which are fun. The kids like to any type of craft products.”

“Sometimes we do get clothing,” Seeley added. “Sometimes people donate bicycles, and those are obviously really nice and a great donation.”

She explained that gifts for the older children tend to be sparse every year.

“I think it’s the older children that are a lot harder to fill their requests,” Seeley said. “A lot of times, once the kids are a little older, they’re not playing with toys anymore.”

Donations of small denomination gift cards or things like DVDs would help fill that void.

Seeley noted that they aim to give each child multiple gifts.

“We usually try not to give them just one,” she said. “We try to give them two or three.”

As of Thursday, this year’s toy drive appeared that it would be a success.

“So far, from what we’ve seen, people have really stepped up already,” Seeley said. “We’re more than pleased with the response from the community.”

“We’ve had a couple stations call and say their bins are overflowing,” she added. “We don’t have a tally, but I know they’re filling up and that’s a good thing.”

For more information on the Annual Toy Drive, such as specific gift needs or request, visit the Cape Coral Fire Department’s Facebook page online at: www.facebook.com/CapeCoralFD.

For more information on the Candlelighters of Southwest Florida, visit: www.candlelightersswfl.org.

For more information on Southwest Florida PODS Angels, visit: www.swflpodsangels.org .