Annual drive gathers toys for local families |

Annual drive gathers toys for local families

The annual toy drive organized by Nevada’s Capitol Police for Toys for Tots collected enough gifts this year to help hundreds of needy families.

Sgt. Randal Smith said this is the seventh year the Department of Public Safety has participated in the Marine Corps national toy drive. This year, the Legislative Police also


While past years concentrated on getting bicycles, this time they decided to go for toys and such things as jackets and winter clothing to try to reach more people, said Smith.

“I’ve never had so much fun as this year only because there is so much need,” he told a group at the Capitol as he turned over the donations to Marines and Carson City Toys for Tots director Joyce Buckingham.

“This means so much to so many,” said Buckingham.

She said the need is up at least 50 percent over last year.

“I just went and bought $3,000 worth of toys. They all went out last night,”

she said. “We’re already over 1,000 families served plus five groups with special needs.”

She said the toys turned over Friday by the Capitol Police and Legislative Police are badly needed.

“I have another 500 families and we were totally out of toys,” she said.

Buckingham said she is hoping to collect more items for those in need through the weekend. Volunteers, including Marines, will be outside area Walmart stores accepting donations.

Gov. Jim Gibbons applauded Smith and the other organizers, thanking them for helping those who otherwise might not be able to provide their children a merry Christmas.

“And thanks especially to our Marines not only for serving our country but our community,” Gibbons said.

Public Safety Director Jerry Hafen added to Buckingham’s list a check from the Nevada State Law Enforcement Association for $500, and Smith turned over an additional $280 in smaller checks from a number of individuals in the Capitol complex.