News4Jax viewers spread holiday cheer by donating toys to kids in need

Going shopping? Pick up a new toy for a child up to 12 years old

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The holidays are just around the corner and chances are you've still got some Christmas shopping to do. And since it's the season of giving, you can help spread some holiday cheer.

Channel 4 and Ace Hardware are sponsoring a toy drive this week to collect gifts for The Children's Christmas Party of Jacksonville, a nonprofit organization that throws a big party for families every year.

All year long, companies and families donate money to help the nonprofit group buy toys in bulk. But with 7,000 children expected to attend the party, it's important to make sure there are enough toys.

That's where your generosity comes in. On Thursday, we collected brand new, unwrapped toys for children up to 12 years old. We asked for your help and, once again, you did not disappoint. We collected 1,602 toys.

Pastor Christopher McKee of First Baptist Church of Oakland showed up with a van packed with donated toys his church collected. He said this is one of his parishioners' favorite ways of giving back.

"We start announcing it ahead of time and they start coming in with gifts and we supply gifts as well from the church itself," said McKee. "It's always something we are excited about doing."

After contributing to the toy drive for the last six years, Chariz Scott came out to donate again this year. As a foster parent, he said he knows just how important it is for children to feel special.

"You have kids that don't get things every year and we try to give back every year," he said.

Toys can also be dropped off at participating Ace Hardware stores across Northeast Florida until Dec. 5. To find a complete list of participating locations, just visit Ace Hardware's website.

The Children's Christmas Party of Jacksonville will host its annual bash at the Prime Osborn Convention Center on Water Street at 9 a.m. Dec. 8, where toys will be given out to children in need.

There's no registration required for families who want to attend. Children can get three tickets that can be exchanged for toys -- and some tickets will be randomly stamped for a bicycle.

About the Authors:

Joy Purdy co-anchors the 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. newscasts with Tarik Minor and the 11 p.m. weeknight newscasts with Kent Justice.