Toyota of Bastrop and Central fire station kick off their annual toy drive

Toyota of Bastrop and Central fire station partnered together for the eighth annual toy drive. They provide gifts for children in need.
Published: Nov. 16, 2022 at 6:17 PM CST
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - Toyota of Bastrop and Central Fire Station in Bastrop started their annual toy drive for families in need on Nov. 7.

Executive Assistant of Toyota, Chelsea Allen, started the program at Toyota after her mother implemented the idea while she was the mayor of Bastrop in 2009.

Allen personally calls every school in Morehouse Parish and asks them for the contact information of families in need of assistance for the holidays. Last year, they were able to give gifts to 140 children.

Donations come from all around the community. Allen and her team assign gifts to each child based on age and interests. Allen says it’s rewarding and humbling knowing they’re able to make Christmas better for some families.

“It’s better to give than to receive,” Allen says. “In my heart, I feel that no child should have to wake up on Christmas without any toys from Santa.”

One former recipient of the toy drive, Crystal Reese, says receiving help from the toy drive is a huge relief for families at a stressful time.

“You know it’s stressful around holidays anyways,” Reese says. “And when you add that added stress to it, I mean, it helps a lot when you get that call saying ‘Hey, your children are recipients of the toy drive.’ And you get to come pick up a box and your kids get to have a good Christmas.”

She says it has served as a learning lesson for her and her family as they’ve been able to donate gifts this time around.

“Now that we do the giving, you know, if we have extra…you should give because there are children that are gonna need it just like we needed it in the past,” Reese says.

The toy drive lasts until Dec. 16 and welcomes everyone to donate gifts or money to go towards Christmas for children. They are accepting drop off or mail in donations at Toyota of Bastrop or Central Fire Station in Bastrop, LA.