The Hattiesburg Police Department took part in two toy drives this holiday season, and ended up with more than enough toys than expected.
With extra toys loaded in police cruisers, officers and detectives made their way to a few apartment complexes in the Hub City to spread Christmas joy.
“When we got an overwhelming amount of toys, and the chief wanted to reach out to the community and try to give out some of those toys out,” Hattiesburg Police Lt. Detective Branden McLemore said. “We wanted to give these toys out to children in need and try to give back to the community.”
Children surrounded the officers and with arms stretched out could not snag toys fast enough.
“It makes me feel happy, I felt like it was real nice of them, it made me want to go and talk to Santa, and let him know,” said one young resident, Tiesha Bolton.
“Oh it means a lot, for me and my baby, she got a football and she got a teddy bear,” said Martciassa Haynes, neighborhood resident.
The extra toys came from the Hattiesburg Civic Lights Opera and Ryan Motors toy drives that the police department took part in, and this year they had a bigger turn out than usual.
“It makes me feel wonderful, to be a part of and to actually have the community support,” McLemore said. “Being able to be a part of everyone’s family at this time of Christmas is just a wonderful thing.”
The officers in the Hattiesburg Police Department protect and serve the community everyday but none of this miss an opportunity to deliver a smile to a child in need, especially around the holidays.
“Giving back to those kids, and trying to get everyone to know we are a part of them, and we are here to help them, and to protect and serve them is what it’s all about,” McLemore said.
The remaining toys will be distributed to children that are attending the department’s annual kids Christmas party.