By Jocelyn Pedersen
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — The Christmas toy drive sponsored by Tiffany’s Restaurant and the Noble Police Department is well under way.
“It’s going to put bright smiles on kids’ faces out there,” Gary Hicks, co-manager of Tiffany’s said.
Officer David Gazaway said last year the toy drive served about 20 families.
“We want to try to outdo what we did last year,” Sgt. Christopher Sevier said. “The first year, we helped families in the single digits. Every year it expands. That’s what we try to do — do better than the year before.”
Donnie Hicks, co-manager of Tiffany’s, echoed Sevier’s thought.
“I hope we can sponsor more kids this year. The more the better.”
And so they might.
Gary Hicks said he and his brother, Donnie have already turned in $1,000 in donations to the Noble Police department. Half of that amount was raised in the first 48 hours of announcing the campaign. Gary Hicks said they turned the donations into the police department last Saturday “to get them started so they don’t have to wait until the last minute to shop.”
Local businesses and community members have really stepped up to meet the challenge. Contributing sponsors include Wolf Ink and Toner, who, Gary Hicks said, “has been a big help without blinking an eye.” He said Vapor Stop also helped to get the ball rolling. Hicks said Bonnie and Anthony Salins have been very supportive of the effort as well. Local artist Ron Leatherwood donated a painting of a bald eagle that will be raffled off alongside a meal-a-week-for-a-year prize from Tiffany’s. Ten more winners will receive a free Tiffany’s T-shirt and five other recipients will win a single free meal. Raffle tickets are $1 and can be purchased at Tiffany’s. The drawings will take place and winners will be notified Dec. 16.
Of the business support so far, Gary Hicks said, “That’s the kind of businesses that make a great community.”
Hicks added that many individuals have already contributed and as is often heard expressing his pride in being a part of such a giving community as Noble.
Detective Barbara Johnson, who serves as the vice president of the Noble FOP, said the toy drive has grown over the years. She said the police department does a “secret shopper” thing where volunteers will shop for needed items.
New, unwrapped toys suitable for school-aged children can be dropped off at the police station where they will be sorted by children’s ages, wrapped and distributed by police volunteers. Monetary donations are used to buy necessities like coats, underwear, socks, sweats and other clothing items. The police department obtains lists from the Noble schools and local churches of families within the city limits who are in need of a little Christmas. Sevier said one year the department donated a rick of wood to a family in need who didn’t have electricity.
“It’s something we started and it makes us all feel really good,” Sevier said.
Johnson summed up Noble’s giving spirit when she described the range of people the toy drive helped last year.
“People are really giving in this community,” Johnson said. “Last year we helped from infants up to 14 years of age.”
Hicks invites the community to join the effort.
“It’s all about the less fortunate children in our community,” Hicks said, adding that even $5 donations help because “it all adds up.”
Monetary donations can be made either at the police department, 115 N. 2nd St., or at Tiffany’s, 101 S. Main St. Checks should be made payable to Noble FOP No. 156 with Toy Drive noted in the memo.
Breaking news, severe weather alerts, AMBER alerts, sports scores from The Norman Transcript are available as text messages right to your phone or mobile device. You decide which type of alerts you want to receive. Find out more or to signup, click here.