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INDEPENDENCE — Last year, the Independence VFW and Ladies Auxiliary lent a helping hand to Santa and to their neighbors by purchasing and distributing toys for more than 400 local families at Christmas.
This year, Santa will have even more helpers.
Members of the Independence Police Department, Independence Volunteer Fire Department and town council have teamed up to form “Independence Cares,” an organization that will hold a coat and toy drive for local children during the Christmas season.
According to Cpl. Matthew Adams of the Independence Police Department and Volunteer Fire Department, even more families are in need of assistance this year.
“After becoming a parent myself, I can’t imagine a kid not having something to open on Christmas morning,” said Adams. “And the community has always been great to the fire and police departments, so this is a way that we can give back.”
Adams said the program originated when Independence Town Council member Ronald Sexton approached the leadership of both departments with the idea, and the departments and council have been working together and planning their course of action for the past year.
To start the collection process, new toys and gently used coats can be donated at drop-off points through Dec. 14. Donation drop-off points include the Independence Town Office, the Independence Police Department, Main Street Tire, Paul’s Restaurant, Adam’s Building Supply, Jessie’s Barber Shop, Grayson Express, Woody’s Pharmacy and Walters Drug.
Adams said that donations can also be made to members of the fire department.
There will be other opportunities to donate to the cause.
At the Grayson County High School home football game against Galax on Nov. 8 toys and coats will be accepted at the entrance gates to the football stadium.
During the Independence Christmas parade on Dec. 7 at 3 p.m., an IVFD truck positioned in front of Santa near the end of the parade will collect donations.
Adams said he encouraged citizens to “flood the truck” with new toys and gently used coats along the parade route, which travels east down Main Street and ends at the Guynn Shopping Center.
Donations can also be made at the truck after the parade.
• Adams said any businesses, churches or other groups wanting to get involved with the collection of new toys and gently used coats can contact him at the police department at (276) 773-3661 or IVFD Chief Gary Hash at (276) 233-7454.