JPD's Toy Drive fills Christmas wishes of local children - - Jackson, MS

JPD's Toy Drive fills Christmas wishes of local children

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

For 18 years the Jackson Police Department has been making sure children in the community have a Merry Christmas.

99 Jams WJMI and My Joy Inc. McDonald's joined the department to help bring smiles to faces and joy to families Friday at JPD's Training Academy.

"I was screaming on the phone," said Brittany Howell, one of the grateful parents picking up gifts for their children. "I was happy that my kids would finally have something".

The 24-year-old single mother and pharmacy technician is one of the dozens Jackson families receiving toys for their children this Christmas.

JPD, WJMI and My Joy Inc. McDonald's held toy drives and through donations from the community Howell's three children will have presents under the tree.

"It's a good opportunity for the community to give back to those single parents that you know are in need and they aren't able to do much for their kids throughout the year, struggling to pay bills or just struggling to do what they can," said Howell.

Each family was given a bike and toys. Gifts that many could not afford to provide this year.

Jackson Police Department Chief Lee Vance and WJMI's Stan Branson have been friends since college and collaborated on the toy drive each year.

"Each and every year when we do it, after the fact you feel like you've done something good and hopefully you've influenced somebody to also do something good to reach out and touch somebody else," said Branson.

Vance says enforcement is only about 10% of what the department should be doing.

Vance also says it's their duty to give back to the people they protect and serve. 

"Efforts like this show the community that we want to be more than just police officers," said Vance. "We want to be integrated into the community and in the community we help each other".

Howell wiped away tears as Chief Vance and other officers helped her select a new bicycle. Vance shared with her that as a child he too received Christmas gifts from generous donors. 

"Anything is really a blessing," added Howell. "The community does have opportunities that they give back to the children".

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