Season of giving: HPD collects hundreds of Christmas toys for children

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

HELENA–The stage at Ovation Media, Inc., in Helena looked a little different on Friday, Dec. 16.

The graphic design and print company turned into a makeshift home for hundreds, if not thousands, of toys that had been donated by citizens of Helena, the Helena High School Student Government Association and more.

The collection of toys began around the first of December at the Helena Police Department and Ovation Media and in a matter of weeks, a record number of toys were collected that were distributed to more than 30 families in need in Helena, missions in both Alabaster and Cullman and more.

On Dec. 16, members of the Helena Police Department came to Ovation Media acting as “Officer Elves” to bag up the toys for kids and families that were then loaded onto a truck to be delivered.

Helena Police Officer Amanda Davis said “more than 100 kids in the Helena area would be waking up to toys on Christmas morning” and the leftover toys would also be distributed to other agencies until all the toys were gone.

Ovation Media Chief Operating Officer Rick Wash said Helena collects Christmas toys each year for Toys for Tots, but this year the HPD and Ovation Media did things a little differently.

“This year we decided to help families that needed help right here in the area,” Wash said. “In the past we collected toys that were then given to families here but also in different states, which is great, but this year we got a list of families in Helena and we’ll be sending toys to them as well as other local agencies.”

Members of HPD and other volunteers spent time sifting through the sea of toys on Dec. 16 to help fill trash bags with toys for boys and girls of various ages.

Helena Police Chief Pete Folmar was filling a bag with six to seven toys for a 9-year-old local boy as the other five or six volunteers were also filling bags.

Above the toys read a banner that said, “The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the greatest intention,” that was created by Ovation Media.

“We set a new record this year and we hope to top it next year!” a Facebook post by the HPD read. “We were also able to give toys to missions in both Alabaster and Cullman with the toys we were blessed with! Helena’s spirit touched lives all over North Alabama! It’s an honor serving people like we have in Helena and from the bottom of our hearts, we thank you!”