Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office toy drive collects more than 1,300 donations

Gift cards add up to more than $3,700

Employees of the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office display toys collected during a holiday drive. Photo courtesy Sheriff’s Office

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office collected more than 1,300 donations, including more than $3,700 in gift cards, during the agency’s second annual holiday toy drive, Sheriff Tom Knight has announced.

Following the agency’s relocation into a new Sarasota headquarters in 2017, the Sheriff’s Office “utilized the lobby to place a tree,” which was delivered this year by Sarasota Boy Scout Troop 23, a news release explains. Toys collected for children as young as newborns, up to age 18, were placed under and around the tree, the release notes.

“The toy drive lasted for two weeks and brought in donations from employees and community members alike,” the release says of the 2018 initiative. On Monday, deputies delivered 1,365 gifts, including $3,755 in gift cards, to the 12th Judicial Circuit Guardian Ad Litem offices in downtown Sarasota, the release notes. “Over the next few days, guardians will deliver toys to the more than 1,500 children from throughout Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties who have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect.”

“This is a phenomenal day for the Sarasota County community,” said Knight in the release. “The outpouring of support for this initiative speaks volumes about the kinds of people who work, live and visit here. We feel so fortunate to be an avenue for philanthropic citizens who want to give back. Great work, Sarasota County!”

“We are so thrilled to be blessed by this donation,” said Guardian Ad Litem Circuit Director Toni Latortue in the release. “Hundreds of children will have a brighter holiday thanks to the generous donations of our community. Special thanks to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office for spearheading this effort.”