The Children’s Advocacy Alliance is partnering with the Department of Human Services and Toys for Tots this holiday season to bring joy to kids through a local toy drive.
The Toys for Tots Drive-By Toy Drive will be held from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec. 2. Participants can drop off a toy for a child in need at 1200 Thomas G. Wilson Rd. in Conway.
CAA’s Leia Smith said this is their first year year to join forced with the other two but have been coordinating Christmas for foster children in Faulkner County as well as Van Buren and Searcy counties for 15 years.
"Without events like this there is no guarantee that the kids in our community will have a Christmas," she said. "For these children we serve, this may be the only time in the year in which they get a jacket, shoes or clothes."
Smith said it’s not just foster children they serve, but kids all throughout the community from all walks of life.
"Events like this ensure that every child know that they are cared for," she said.
Smith said they want to collect as many toys as possible and are expecting to serve at least 200 families.
"We don’t have a goal in mind in quantity, we really just want the community to come out, drop off a toy and talk with us if they have time," she said. "The people at Toys for Tots are so inspirational. these [U.S. Marine Corps] have already spent their lives serving out country and now they have made it their mission to serve the kids of our nation. We could not be more proud and honored to partner [with them]."
In addition to the toy drive, Smith said community members will also have the option to directly adopt a child through their angel tree and can do so by calling the office at 501-328-3347 or emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"For the kids we serve, it may feel like no one cares about them," she said. "We try our hardest to ensure that every child that we serve and in our community knows that they are loved."
For Smith, the best way to show holiday spirit is through giving to someone who could use a reminder that there is hope in the world, life is magical and that they are loved.
"I know it may sound silly, the idea of a toy making someone feel like life is magical, but I don’t know of many things more powerful to a child than the assurance that someone cares for them," she said. "A simple way do to this is to donate a toy for a child in need."