SARASOTA-Sarasota Sheriff’s Office kicked off their annual toy drive with a holiday tree donated by the Sarasota Memorial Public Safety department.

The Sheriff’s Office Toy drive benefits the 12th Judicial District of Florida’s Guardian Ad Litem Program. They will be helping to provide toys for more than 1,500 children in Sarasota, Manatee and DeSoto counties who have been removed from their homes due to abuse and neglect. Citizens are asked to bring a new, unwrapped toy or gift card to the Sheriff’s Office, and Sheriff Knight says it’s a great way they can help give back to the community.

 “Our most important goal is to protect children,” Sheriff Knight said. “And all the things that we do to protect children, our different type of details, but most important for us is symbolically to be an anchor and a location for people to drop off gifts that want to help kids out during the holiday period, who want to make the kids in the Guardian ad litem program have a safe holiday and a fun holiday. We all did growing up, we all had presents under the tree, and I’m sure this community wants to have a present under the tree for every kid in the guardian ad litem program.”

Citizens are asked to refrain from donating clothes or stuffed animals, the toy drive begins on December 1st and donations can be dropped off everyday between 7 AM and 7PM.