BCSO collecting Toys for Tots donations

Published 7:04 pm Friday, December 2, 2016

For 13 years, 1st Sgt. Kent Hill of the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office has assisted with the local Toys for Tots effort, a partnership with the Marine Corps Reserve.

It is a project near and dear to the heart of the father of two.

“Throughout the year I’ve noticed this might be the only thing some kids get for Christmas,” Hill said. “I think it is very important for us to give back and I like seeing the smiles on their faces.”

This year’s campaign is currently underway and area residents have until Dec. 8 to make their donations, which will certainly make Christmas morning merrier and brighter for local children.

This is the fifth Christmas that Lt. Kelly Cox has taken an active role in the sheriff’s office Toys for Tots project.

“We see first hand how some of these families live,” Cox noted. “Each shift goes together with our own money to purchase gifts, in addition to what the public brings in.”

In the past, donations have included bicycles, footballs and basketballs, dolls, games, scooters, helmets and other toys, according to the deputies.

The items are gathered from various drop-off points in the county and taken to a local church where they are sorted. Parents can submit wish lists and bags of toys are assembled to help Santa on Christmas Eve.

Deputies, representatives of the Marine Corps Reserve and community volunteers act as elves during the distribution process.

Cox, father to a young daughter and newborn son, said helping with the project is therapeutic for the deputies.

“It’s been a real tough year in law enforcement,” Cox said. “This is another way for deputies to continue to give back to the community and we enjoy the positive interaction with citizens. Sheriff Coleman believes that Christmas is about spending time with your family.”

Hill agreed.

“The sheriff really encourages us to give back to the community,” he said. “He considers that a big part of our job.”

Anyone wishing to donate toys may drop them off at the front entrance to the sheriff’s office, located on Market Street in Washington, weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Donations may also be made after hours by ringing the buzzer at the rear entrance to the office, located behind the Beaufort County courthouse.