Toys For Kids Distribution Started, Deadline Extended

Santa's Workshop is running on all Cylinders to Keep up With Demand as the Sheriff has now Extended the Application Deadline for his Toys for Kids Program

These Santa's Helpers were found working hard distributing toys at the Sheriff's Training Center in Evensville. (L-R) Homeland Security Director Jim Conner, Sheriff Mike Neal, Lieutenant Melba Huffman, Animal Shelter Director Cheyenne Swafford, Special Events Coordinator Jeff Knight, and Deputy Tony Moore. (photo submitted)

Distribution has begun for Sheriff Mike Neal’s Toys for Kids program, but it’s not too late to submit an application.  Most kids receive not only a bicycle, but a bag filled with enough toys to make Ol’ Saint Nick blush.

Sheriff’s Deputy Tony Moore with one of the huge bundles of toys.

The sheriff says he’s seen first hand the difficulty our community has faced this year with the pandemic, and notes, “It’s been tough on everyone, but some have been impacted far worse than others”.

That’s why he and his department are putting in the extra effort to make sure Rhea County ends 2020 on a good note.  And he wants families to know the deadline has been extended on a first-come-first-serve basis.

With over 600 applications already processed, program organizers believe they will be able to help over 1,000 kids in Rhea County have a Merry Christmas.

To pickup and submit an application please visit the Sheriff’s Dept. Office on 444 2nd Avenue in Dayton between 8:30-5pm Monday through Friday.

But the sheriff admits, there was concern early on that the program wouldn’t be able to meet this year’s greater needs because 2020 was also creating greater challenges.

“This year, we didn’t have any Christmas Parades, Strawberry Parades, or other community events, where we get a lot of our support and funds to get all these toys for kids.”

“But the community has really come together as a whole, and we’ve actually gathered more money this year than any years in the past.”

When Sheriff Neal was first elected, he promised to not only keep the community safe, but stand in the gap for children and seniors in Rhea County.

In addition to the Toys for Kids program which started with 300 kids in 2003, the Sheriff’s S.C.A.N. Program or Senior Citizen’s Awareness Network organizes volunteers who routinely check on seniors with little support and no family.

If you’d like to volunteer to work in the S.C.A.N. program or donate to the toy or coat drive, please call the Sheriff’s Department and (423)775-7837.

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