In the spirit of the season of giving, two groups at the University of Indianapolis are hosting toy drives. The UIndy Campus Police Department partnered with the Marine Corps for the program Toys for Tots to give underprivileged families toys for their children to wake up to on Christmas morning and the Student Organization for Latinos toy drive is to benefit children at the Riley Hospital for Children.
Assistant Chief of Police Hailey Padgett-Riley said the police department began holding a Toys for Tots drive five years ago and more attention has come to the drive and the amount of donations continues to grow every year.
“The purpose of the drive is to collect unopened toys, [and] unwrapped toys for children in the area that may not have a family that is able to provide them toys for Christmas. One of the most exciting things around Christmas is to open presents from Santa. It’s just heartbreaking that some of those kids will not be able to open anything,” Padgett-Riley said. “That is the whole point [of the drive] to brighten these childrens’ Christmases and making sure they have something to unwrap.”
According to freshman molecular biology major Oscar De Los Santos, this is the first year that SOL has organized the toy drive for Riley. De Los Santos is SOL’s vice president of special projects and said he is at the forefront of this effort. He and members of SOL get many of their donations by hosting a table in Schwitzer every Friday to collect the toys.
“[People should donate] for the kids. They’re sick, so just donate for their happiness. To let them know that there’s someone thinking about them and cares about them,” De Los Santos said.
Padgett-Riley said the drive for the Marine Corps started when UIndy Chief of Police David Selby first started working on campus. There have been donation boxes for toys in every main building on the campus to collect donations for the past five years and they are currently working to get them inside of the residence halls, according to Padgett-Riley.
“What we’ve noticed is some of the departments around campus have kind of included it [the drive] as part of their celebration or a team building thing. Or the retreats at the end of the year, encouraging people in their departments to donate to Toys for Tots,” Padget-Riley said. “We really appreciate that. We’re hoping to see a bigger increase this year. Our goal is about 500 toys this year.”
When they were first put out in late November, the police department saw the donations were slim. Padget-Riley said with the holidays on the way, they think donations will start to pick up.
The Riley Donations will end on Dec. 12 and Toys for Tots donations will end on Dec. 14. Toys can be donated to Riley at SOLs table in the Schwitzer Student Center and donations for Toys for Tots can be placed in any of the bins around campus.