BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. – The Bedford County Sheriff’s Office partnered with Centra Health for their annual Toys for Kids campaign, making sure children have toys to unwrap this holiday season.
“It’s the biggest year ever. Last year due to COVID-19, a lot of places didn’t want to participate. So, I think last year we had maybe 60 children. This year we have 197. I think [in 2019] we had probably 120, 130,” said Major Jon Wilks with the Sheriff’s Office.
Organizers worked with Bedford County Public Schools to help unidentified families in need.
“[The schools] give us an idea of the wants and ages. We don’t know who [the families] are,” said Wilks.
Each bag is marked with a number and list of presents.
“When it goes to the school, [administrators] know which kid it goes to, but no one knows where it comes from,” said Wilks.
It comes from generous donors, including the local police department, fire and rescue, and businesses.
Monetary gifts allowed deputies to shop for what they didn’t have. They raised $5,300 this year.
They delivered the donations Thursday to elementary schools throughout the county, including Bedford Primary.
Principal Lisa Dellis said they appreciate the support. More than 75% of students receive free meals because families face financial hardships.
Once deputies drop off these bags, parents pick them up to take home and wrap.
“It’s huge in allowing the parents and families to have that level of being able to give to their children without their children being necessarily aware of their situation because we do want to make sure that we are keeping the dignity of all of our families at the same time,” said Dellis.
Leftover donations are stored away, so the sheriff’s office has a head start for next year to make more holidays wishes come true.