Under police escort, a group of blue elves made special delivery Tuesday to help make sure all Killeen ISD children get something special this holiday season.
The Killeen ISD Police Department culminated its Blue Elf toy drive, transporting 347 toys to KISD’s Jackson Professional Learning Center and a meeting room transformed into a toy room.
The donated toys will benefit families connected to the KISD Homeless Awareness Response Program and Foster Care Program.
KISD Director for Federal and State Programs Christianne Shinn thanked the officers and the variety of school groups that have filled the large meeting space with toys and other items.
Invited family members are scheduling times to shop for toys for their children this week prior to the two-week holiday break.
The school district serves more than 1,000 students who qualify for HARP services or are in the state’s foster care system.
“It’s a blessing,” said Shinn of the rapidly filling toy room. “It’s another way for the community to support our students.”
Last year, the Nolan Middle School choir conducted a drive to provide toys for KISD’s HARP and foster care programs.
This year, the choir once again donated toys and the KISD police department jumped in with its own drive. Nolan's theater, art, orchestra, band, dance, cheer, AVID, NJHS, athletics and library also pitched in. The choirs at Union Grove and Harker Heights High School took part, too.
Police Officer Dawin Vasquez said the department wanted to help families of students they see regularly at their assigned campuses.
They began with a Blue Elf toy drive this year that focused on the high school campuses. Six schools conducted drives to fill the toy room.
“We wanted to give the community something representing the KISD PD,” Vasquez said. “Students know we’re in their schools and we wanted to give back to kids who are in need.”
The response to the drive, he said, was overwhelming.
“I was speechless,” he said, “at how involved everyone was. They supported our program, and we had fun doing it.”
Look for an expanded drive next year and a competition element.
Killeen ISD HARP collects donations year around including coats and other clothes, hygiene items, school supplies, non-perishable food and toys.
For more information, https://www.killeenisd.org/Page/15180