A local guardsman is hoping the Corpus Christi area will rise to the occasion and connect local children with toys for the coming Christmas season.
Although the "Young Heroes of the Guard" Toy Drive has been happening statewide since 2009, Texas State Guard Staff Sergeant Rodney Buckwalter said this will directly impact the Coastal Bend.
“We’re really trying to get established here in the Corpus Christi area,” SSG Buckwalter said. “Every toy that we collect in the Coastal Bend goes to Driscoll Children’s Hospital, right here in Corpus Christi.”
Currently, the only donation drop-box is at Texas Toyz in Moore Plaza.
Texas Toyz owner Dean Fritsch said SSG Buckwalter reached out to him on social media to see if he was interested in hosting a drop-box location.
“(He) asked if we were interested in putting up a box to help out the local hospital,” Fritsch explained. “(I told him) ‘Yeah, sure — anything for Driscoll.’”
KRIS 6 News spoke with one woman, Janie, who was spotted making a donation.
Although she didn’t know the details of who she was helping, she didn’t hesitate.
“The way things are right now, there are a lot of people who are without work and they’re needing presents for their children — we thought that was the right thing to do — to get them toys,” Janie said. “Hopefully, it will encourage people to do it too, because there’s a lot of families in need, a lot of children that need toys.”
SSG Buckwalter said he anticipates more locations to participate as the weeks progress.
As he voluntarily stood outside next to the drop-box Sunday afternoon, Buckwalter said he was appreciative of those who have already made donations.
“It brings a lot of pride to me — the fact that we are collecting toys for those children in our local community over the holidays,” he said. “One toy makes a huge difference for these kids in the hospital.”
Although the Staff Sergeant admits there are several organizations to give money and toys to during the holiday season, he hopes locals are able to help their effort.
“To really brighten the holidays for kids that are hospitalized,” he said. “Especially this time of year and with everything that’s been going on — it’s very important to help those kids out that are in the hospital for the holidays.”
SSG Buckwalter said they ask that donations be new, unwrapped toys.
The organization will also be accepting book and clothing donations at their drop-box locations.