City of Toledo Employees Started 'The Joys of Toys' Toy Drive to Spread Cheer to Children in Need
Paul Cooper, with the City of Toledo fleet operations, planned on buying out the whole toy department in Ollie’s Bargain Outlet to make sure no child goes without a gift to open this holiday season.
Cooper believes that every child deserves to feel special and loved, especially during the holidays, so he started ‘The Joys of Toys’ toy drive nine years ago to benefit Lucas County Children Services.
“It's a way for us to give back to the community because we not only live here, we work here, and we want to support the community,” Cooper said. “I really love it. We can make a real difference in the lives of children who are in need."
As more donations and more money poured in each year, Cooper needed some help. He asked his friend Mike Kimble, with the City of Toledo's department of transportation, to help out.
Kimble said when he was little, his family couldn’t afford Christmas presents.
“There were a lot of us in my family so sometimes we woke up with little or no toys at all on Christmas morning,” Kimble said. "If I could help it, no child will have to go through that."
This year the ‘The Joys of Toys’ drive brought in $3,500. The money bought around 1,200 toys, and with toy donations the two City employees were able to give about 1,500 gifts to children in need.
Next year will be the 10th anniversary of the toy drive.
Cooper said he has always been inspired by the generosity of others. He and Kimble are quick to give credit to the organizations and residents who generously contributed their time, money and toys to help make a child’s Christmas filled with joy.
“This year someone anonymously dropped off five bicycles for the kids at my office,” Cooper said.
Cooper had tears in his eyes at Ollie’s as he unloaded cart after cart of toys and put them on the conveyer belt bound for the checkout.
“When these children get their toys, I think they're going to be amazed,” Cooper said. “I look forward to this every year. It gives me such a good feeling onside.”