Sheriff's Office Announces 7th Annual Holiday Toy Drive
NEWS RELEASE 23-066 - NOVEMBER 15, 2023
Sarasota County Sheriff Kurt A. Hoffman is pleased to announce the sheriff's office is hosting its 7th Annual Holiday Toy Drive benefiting the 12th Judicial Circuit of Florida's Guardian ad Litem (GAL) program and two additional partner organizations.
Launched in 2017 when the agency moved into its new headquarters, the toy drive has become a holiday project the agency and Sarasota County citizens look forward to every year. With the help of agency members, residents, local businesses, and organizations, the sheriff's office has donated more than 12,500 gifts and $43,000 in gift cards to children enrolled in the GAL program over the last six years. Because of the event's continued growth and success, Sheriff Hoffman invited Teen Court of Sarasota and All Star Children's Foundation to also take part beginning last year.
"We aim to give these kids a holiday they will enjoy and remember," said Sheriff Hoffman. "Going into our seventh year, we're continuously overwhelmed at the outpouring of community support we routinely see. Supporting these wonderful organizations during the holidays makes this season, and Sarasota County as a whole, so special!"
In Sarasota, Manatee, and DeSoto counties, there are currently more than 1,000 children removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect, and as such, are part of the GAL program. Teens enrolled in Teen Court are supported by the organization's mission to create a second chance for at-risk youth, helping them make positive choices through meaningful consequences, peer mentorship, and civic engagement. Finally, All Star Children's Foundation exists to provide children in foster care with a secure environment where they feel valued, safe, and empowered.
All three organizations provide for children ranging in age from newborn to 18. The sheriff's office focuses the initiative solely on toys and gift cards. The agency requests that citizens not donate clothing or stuffed animals and ensure that all donations are new and unwrapped. The collection period begins Friday, December 1, and continues through Wednesday, December 13. Citizens can deliver gifts to the agency's headquarters at 6010 Cattleridge Boulevard, Sarasota, every day between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.
This year's Holiday Toy Drive coincides with the agency's Annual Open House on Saturday, December 9, from 2–6 p.m. The first 500 attendees to deliver a new and unwrapped toy or gift card will receive a free sheriff's office t-shirt, limited to one per person per gift.
Again, this year, SCSO thanks the Sarasota Memorial Hospital Public Safety Department for generously donating a holiday tree to serve as the toy drive's collection site.
For more information, contact the Community Affairs Office at 941.861.4005.