Blue Elf Toy Drive Aids Killeen ISD HARP

KISD school groups contribute goodsThanks to growing generosity to assist local families, a group of excited blue elves made their annual toy delivery a couple of weeks before the holiday break.


The Killeen ISD Police Department culminated its Blue Elf gift drive, transporting more than 300 donated toys to KISD’s Jackson Professional Learning Center and a meeting room transformed into a toy room.


The donated toys will go to families who benefit from the KISD Homeless Awareness Response Program and Foster Care Program.


KISD Director for KISD Federal and State Programs Christianne Shinn thanked the officers and the variety of school groups that supplied the toys and other items. She also remembered the middle school choir director who initiated it.


The school district serves more than 1,000 students who qualify for HARP services or are in the state’s foster care system.


Two years ago, Nolan Middle School choir director Ashley Hogan approached Shinn about conducting a service project to assist families of students during the holiday.


Last year, the KISD police department joined the effort, promoting the drive throughout the schools. This year, the third, the drive continued to gain momentum.


“A lot of our community knows there is a need,” said Shinn. Not everyone realizes there is a specific need for older students and siblings.

KISD drive assists families


The Nolan students wanted to help their peers and much of the drive has focused on secondary level student need.


Many of the students who benefit from HARP are not homeless in a traditional sense but live on the edge of poverty and need.


With so many donated toys, Shinn can invite family members to schedule times to shop for toys for their children prior to the two-week holiday break.


“It started with Ashley and her middle school kids. She added foster care and that was a huge blessing. This way, it touches as many students as possible.”


It’s especially touching, she said, to see parents and other family members self-select their children’s gifts and wrap the toys themselves.


Killeen ISD HARP collects donations year around including coats and other clothes, hygiene items, school supplies, non-perishable food and toys.


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