FAMU’s annual president’s toy drive brings joy this holiday season

Toys collected at the 2016 president's toy drive | Photo credit: Aldernico Brioche

With the holiday season in full effect, the Florida A&M University (FAMU) community has participated in several toy drives. One of the many toy drives includes the annual President’s Toy Drive.

FAMU’s newly appointed President, Dr. Larry Robinson along with his wife Sharon Robinson, hosted the annual President’s Toy Drive at 6 p.m. on Fri., Dec.1 at the president’s house.

The purpose of the President’s Toy Drive is to give back to children. There are children and families in the Tallahassee community who are under significantly straining financial circumstances.

“This toy drive is designed to brighten up the holidays for children in the local community and give students and faculty an opportunity to be a part of something bigger,” Robinson said.

The President’s Toy Drive requested new unwrapped gifts for children of various ages as donations. Students were given the opportunity to donate prior to the event by dropping off their donations at FAMU’s Office of Communications.

Gifts that are donated to the drive are distributed to local charities and organizations who specialize in giving back to children and families in need.

Some of the organizations FAMU has partnered with this year to accomplish this goal includes the Boys and Girls Club, Children of Incinerated Parents, and the City of Tallahassee.

Since the event was open to the public, Robinson’s goal was to ensure participants felt welcomed and comfortable.

“Hosting the toy drive at the president’s home will give the event a more personal feel, it will also add more holiday spirit since we’ll be able to dress the home in festive decorations and spirit,” Robinson said. “With music, food and beverages provided, the toy drive possessed a jubilant, and intimate mood.”

Vice President of Student Affairs, Dr. William E. Hudson said the President’s Toy drive will have a significant impact on not only FAMU, but the community as well.

Collection of children's bikes to be given away to Tallahassee children 
| Photo credit: Aldernico Brioche 

“FAMU has always been integral in community service annually not just during the holidays, we support all families and students in our community,” Hudson said.

Anticipations of the President’s Toy are very high year to year. With approximately 400 gifts donated every year, outreach has been significant through social media outlets such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. “Attendance is always great,” Robinson said. “We want more people to come back every year.”

Vernon Bryant is the Coordinator of FAMU Public Functions and Events in the FAMU Office of Communications. Bryant hopes that this will provide an example of the values that FAMU demonstrates.

“We hope to continue this annual toy drive as it enforces our school’s motto: Excellence with Caring,” Bryant said.

“Personally, this drive gives us an exclusive opportunity, we are concerned about young citizens during the holiday season, the spirit of giving and donations is all connected to who we are as a university and a community,” Robinson said.

To continue the spirit of giving, later in December FAMU will also host the annual “Shop with a Cop” event where FAMU police officers take families and children in need shopping for the holidays at stores such as Wal-Mart.