Not all heroes wear capes – some wear Santa hats. The Town of Addison’s Christmas spirit is on display again this year with its annual Toy Drive.    

Each year, the Addison Police and Fire Departments work in tandem as Santa’s Heroes to provide Christmas gifts for children from disadvantaged families.

Santa’s Heroes is an organization dedicated to “recogniz[ing] first responders and essential workers who work hard for their community,” according to the mission statement located on the Facebook page for the charity.

With the help of local businesses and residents, the drive collects donations to provide Christmas gifts to the children of Addison, and the town’s first responders appropriately don Santa hats for the occasion.   

In years past, the drive has featured mainly toys from donors. However, in 2020 and again in 2021, due to COVID-19, Addison elected to conduct things a little differently. Instead of collecting toys for the drive, Santa’s Heroes will only be accepting gift cards, but they have taken the personalization of the event one step further.    

First, the organization learns of families in need through a toy drive request form. This application can be submitted by a police officer or social worker familiar with the family’s circumstances, or by a friend or member of the family who wishes for their loved ones to be considered.

The form includes fields covering specifics about each child from the disadvantaged family, such as their age, gender, and even favorite character when applicable.

The form also requests that the submitting individual additionally specify what each child may need, rather than want, such as underwear, towels, blankets, or care items.     

Once filled out, the toy drive form is then submitted and reviewed by Addison Police Department. Based on the number of donations and the level of need, families are selected, and police officers use the gift cards donated to buy toys for those children based on their ages and interests.

These gifts are then personally delivered by special characters Santa Cop and Rudolph the Rescue Reindeer, who travel in a mobile Christmas village, handing out presents and spreading Christmas cheer.   

For those wishing to assist in the effort, Addison’s Community Outreach Team can be contacted at [email protected] with questions or requests to serve as a drop-off location for the drive.

Though Addison cannot accept cash offerings or toys at this time, they do allow gift card donations, which enable police to purchase toys for the drive in the donor’s name. Deliveries to families are scheduled by appointment and will occur before December 20, 2021.   

People can drop off gift cards for donation in the lobbies of the Police and Fire Departments. They can also donate at Addison Town buildings, such as Addison’s Town Hall, Athletic Club, Theatre Centre, Service Center, Finance Building, or Addison TreeHouse.

Finally, the drive accepts donations at any volunteer donation site. All funds donated to the Santa’s Heroes Toy Drive in Addison will be given to families within the community.