The Cape Coral Police Department and U.S. Coast Guard have once again partnered to collect donations at the 6th annual Fill the Boat toy drive.
People are asked to drop off a new unwrapped toy from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and Sunday at the Wal-Mart Supercenter, at 1619 Del Prado Blvd. S. A Coast Guard vessel parked out front is where people can place their toy.
Lt. Tony Sizemore, spokesman for the CCPD, explained that people can probably reflect on their childhood and remember lean holiday times.
"But we're literally helping families that would have zero this year," he said. "These children would have absolutely zero for Christmas without this."
Each year, roughly 2,000 toys are collected. At the end of drive on Sunday, the toys will be taken to the CCPD to be distributed to children in need.
"We have different programs that we use," Sizemore said.
The CCPD adopts families to supply gifts to and partners with other local charities that either provide gifts or may not have the means to do so
Asked about what toys are acceptable, nothing is off limits.
From Nerf footballs to electronic games to stuffed animals - any kind of toys you can imagine," he said. "They run the gamut on age groups."
"We're just grateful for everything that we get," Sizemore said.
Fill the Boat was initiated six years ago by Cape Coral Police Officer Matt Squires, who is also in the Coast Guard Reserve. This year, the program was in jeopardy because he was called up to active duty and is away on orders.
Not wanting the program to go away, other officers took it over.
"You know what its like to have a normal Christmas," he said. "A lot of these officers either are from humble beginnings themselves or just seeing it on the streets - they know they wouldnt have anything without this."
"Our officers really love to give back and partner with the community to give back," Sizemore said. "This is from us for us helping us here in Cape Coral."