The Rhea County Sheriff’s Department began their annual tradition of collecting items for The Angel Tree Toy Drive in 2002. This program benefits children within Rhea County. This years drive is currently underway and once again proving to be very successful.
According to Jeff Knight, a spokesperson for the Sheriff’s Department, collecting for the drive is actually a year long event. Various fundraisers are held throughout the year. Just to list a few, various fundraisers are held during the Strawberry Festival, Pumpkin Fest, car shows, and area mud bogs. The proceeds from these fundraisers are set aside until Christmastime.
In addition to the yearly fundraising events, the Sheriff’s Dept. accepts donations from area churches, businesses, industries, and citizens. This year’s total donations will supply Christmas for over 1000 children.
In order for a child to be considered for the Toy Drive, the Sheriff’s Department distributes a short application to the families. The United Way and the Tennessee Department of Human Services screen the applications and compiles the final list of children that will receive assistance. “We want to make sure that we are helping families that are not being helped by other agencies”, said Knight.
The men and women of the Rhea County Sheriff’s Department, along with other volunteers, will begin delivering this years gifts beginning on December 12th and will continue daily until all the presents have been delivered.
Anyone interested in donating to the drive may contact the Rhea County Sheriff’s Department at 423-775-7837 or stop by their office on 2nd Ave. Donations that are being accepted are new toys, coats or monetary donations.