AUSTIN (KXAN) — Volunteers packed boxes to the brim and loaded them onto a truck, destined to bring smiles to the faces of children whose lives changed following Hurricane Harvey in August.
After a huge response from the Austin community to donate emergency supplies, at the beginning of September, Austin Mayor Steve Adler put out another call. This time, it was to collect toys and team up with Operation Blue Santa to sort them and get them where they need to go. The group normally works on similar efforts during the holiday season, but was willing to help Christmas come early for some children this year.
Toys, books and school supplies destined for Refugio and Rockport left Wednesday morning on a donated semi-truck. Mike Sheffield, the Austin Police Department Community Liaison, said they didn’t keep track of exactly how many toys they received, as they gave some away immediately to children in Austin-area shelters and packed up the rest. However, 29 boxes with about 30 toys inside each traveled on the semi-truck, along with about half of the 17 pallets of toys Dell Computers donated.
“We’ve never gone lacking, whether it’s in donations or volunteers, and we can’t say enough, ‘thank you to the citizens of Austin,” Sheffield said. We can’t do it without you all.”
Operation Blue Santa collects donations year round at its warehouse at 4101 South Industrial Drive, Suite 260. People can also donate online. People can also already start applying for assistance, with deliveries set for Dec. 16.