Sarasota Toy Drive Exceeds Expectations


This holiday season the Venice, Florida JCS office got to spread a little extra cheer with permission from their judges. The “Jolly Christmas Santa” program allowed defendants that were in good standing to buy out their eligible community service hours with toys, nonperishable food items, and toiletries destined to help out families in need.

The program had a goal of collecting $5,000 in items to donate. However, Sarasota surpassed this target, reaching over 150% of their original goal with a total of $7,600 in items collected for charity. Three vans, a truck, and a large car were required to move these items to their destinations.

Donations were spread between six local agencies. South City Food Pantry received a full van of food and toiletries, Englewood Helping Hands accepted toys and toiletries that went to directly help about 35 local families, North-Port Biscayne Baptist Church was given toys to improve the Christmas of twelve families, Pregnancy Solutions gained baby toys and toiletries, Center of Hope acquired toys and toiletries for approximately 35 families, and Trinity Church received a load of toys for a program where children pick out a toy when their parents come in for food.

Defendants that met the requirements simply purchased the items between October and December and brought the items and their receipts to the Sarasota office. Credit towards community service was given at a standard rate of ten dollars’ worth of goods to the drive for each community service hour. Individuals that chose to participate in the program also had the opportunity to add an ornament celebrating their gift to the office Christmas tree.

The drive has been considered an outstanding success for all parties involved and shines as an example of community cooperation and giving for local courts and agencies.