Hurricanes Increase Need in Fire Department Toy Drive - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

11/25/05

Hurricanes Increase Need in Fire Department Toy Drive

Santa Claus is scheduled to show up at homes around the Coastal Empire on Christmas Eve. He hopes to have enough toys for all the good little girls and boys on his list. But he needs your help in spreading some Christmas cheer.

Santa doesn't normally come to town by boat, but since he's in the Coastal Empire he thought he'd trade in his sleigh for a ride on the Georgia Queen.

"Oh we come on riverboat when we come down to Savannah," he explained. "There's very little snow down here, so we ride up the river."

For the past five years the Savannah Fire Department has helped Santa collect all sorts of toys, but this year the need is greater than ever. While visiting the Coastal Empire, Santa noticed a problem: not enough toys for all the children who need them, and that's because a lot of those children come from hurricane-devastated areas.

"We need a lot of help," Santa said. "We've got many boys and girls from the Katrina area here that have contacted Santa and said they need help, so we need toys."

So Santa is taking collections, and many of the toys he's collecting are coming from children.

"Some children don't have a lot of toys and Katrina and Rita just destroyed some homes, and they might need some toys, so that's why I like to give them out," said young Sydney Stanley in town from Atlanta. Children boarding the Georgia Queen today helped out by donating toys.

And many parents who have children understand just how much of a difference a small gift can mean to a child who has nothing. "I think God has blessed us all with so much that if we could just give a little, that would make the Christmas spirit last a little longer," said Monica Vogelsong.

If you'd like to take a riverboat ride and help Santa, boat will run both tomorrow and Sunday at 2pm. And Santa will be back for the next three Saturdays in December on the 3rd, 10th and 17th at 2pm. Cost of admission for children under 12 is an unwrapped toy when accompanied by a paying adult.

Or you can drop off a gift at any Savannah fire station.

Reported by: Nicole Teigen, nteigen@wtoc.com

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