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

1,389 toys boxed up on Thursday

More than 1,100 toys boxed up on Thursday

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Channel 4 devoted Thursday to collecting toys to help make it a merry Christmas for children in need.

Viewers dropped off new and unwrapped toys that will go to children across the River City.

Despite Thursday’s cold, the toys and smiles kept coming after the collection started at 7 a.m. By the end of the day, 1,389 toys had been collected. Last year, News4Jax collected 1,046 toys.

Generous viewers arrived at the station with trunks filled with gifts like footballs, dolls, basketballs and bikes.

Hundreds of people donated, including Pastor Christopher McKee Jr. from The Church of Oakland.

1,389 toys boxed up on Thursday

“We know it’s been a challenging year,” Pastor McKee Jr. said. “We know that as we have navigated the pandemic, the economic issues, all those things that have happened this year people know that there are folks who are in our community that are in need. So we’re blessed to be a blessing.”

One of the first vehicles into the parking lot Thursday morning was a truck from Maxwell House -- filled with toys!

“We have been collecting the toys for the kids since the beginning of the summer,” Archie Harris, Line Coordinator at Maxwell House Coffee Co, said. “And so what we’ve done over the period of months is we all gave everybody an ultimatum to make sure we try to make Christmas happy for all the kids that we can. Like I said we have a good working staff over the Maxwell House. We tried to make sure we support our community the best we can.”

One toy drive participant said she has been doing this for as long as she can remember.

“Christmas is about the kids,” Tina Spence said. “We started off donating in a small town in Kentucky years ago when the fire department took all the old toys in and fixed them up to donate to kids. I taught my kids way back when they were little to donate and I’ve been trying to do that every year since.”

The toys will be donated to Toys for Tots. Toy pick-up for (registered) individual families is Dec. 14-20 at the distribution warehouse at 10320 Shops Lane, Jacksonville, Florida 32258 right next to Chuck E. Cheese.

TOY DRIVE 🎅 🎁 - RIGHT NOW you can help make this year's Christmas Merry and Bright for local children in need. Our toy drive runs from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Posted by WJXT4 The Local Station / News4JAX on Thursday, December 10, 2020

About the Authors:

Carianne Luter is a social media producer for News4Jax and has worked at Channel 4 since December 2015. She graduated from the University of North Florida with a degree in communications.