Sheriff’s Office holiday toy drive nets more than 1,450 donations for children in Guardian Ad Litem program

Gift cards add up to more than $4,000

These are all the donations under the tree in the lobby of the Sheriff’s Office’s headquarters on Cattleridge Boulevard. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office collected more than 1,450 donations, including more than $4,100 in gift cards, during the its third annual holiday toy drive, Sheriff Tom Knight has announced.

In 2017, the Sheriff’s Office launched its inaugural holiday toy drive, making the lobby of its new Sarasota headquarters the focal point for the undertaking, a news release explains. Local Boy Scout troops selected trees for the 2017 and 2018 events, the release notes. “This year, the Sarasota Memorial Hospital Public Safety Department stepped up and donated a tree,” the release adds.

Over a two-week period, agency members and the public were able to come to the Sheriff’s Office headquarters to put under the tree toys for children ranging in age from newborns to 18, the release says.

On Dec. 19, deputies delivered 1,453 gifts, including $4,120 in gift cards, to the 12th Judicial Circuit Guardian Ad Litem offices in downtown Sarasota, the release continues. “Over the next few days, guardians will deliver toys to the more than 1,500 children from throughout Sarasota, Manatee and Desoto counties who have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect,” the release adds.

“Holiday toy drive day is probably one of my favorite days of the year,” said Knight in the release. “The unwavering and growing support of this initiative speaks volumes about the community we have here in Sarasota County, and it’s our privilege to serve as an avenue for citizens to give back during the holiday season.”