Waxahachie Firefighters are gearing up for their annual Toys for Kids drive with a goal to make sure each child in need across the community will have a gift to unwrap on Christmas morning.

Last year the department was able to help more than 50 families.

“The City of Waxahachie and the people here are great. They are always very willing and have donated a lot in the past,” said Julio Hernandez, Toys for Kids Coordinator. "This year, distribution is about four weeks away, which is going to be Dec. 16 at the Salvation Army in the gym."

The fire department’s toy drive aids families after the application deadline for the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program has passed. Applications for the fire department’s toy drive are available at the Salvation Army, which is located at 620 Farley St. in Waxahachie. No applications are taken at the fire department.

When applying, residents need to bring identification, identification of the children that live with them (such as a birth certificate), and a utility bill.

Organizers kindly request new, unwrapped toy for infants all the way up to 14-year-old children. Donation items not accepted include stuffed animals and clothing.

“We still always remind people that toys are good but when kids get a little bit older in the 12, 13 or 14-year-old age range to try to be mindful they still need to get something. It is hard to give a 13 or 14-year-old a GI Joe. Something a little bit more age-specific is what we ask for,” Hernandez said. “We don’t accept stuffed animals. People may take them home and they may have pets or they may have issues like their kids have allergies. So we try and avoid that.”

Toy donation sites are at Station 1 located at 408 W. Main Street, Station 2 located at 1601 Cleaver Street, and Station 3 located at 200 YMCA Drive. Monetary donations can only be dropped off at the fire department’s administration’s building located at 407 Water Street.

Hernandez stated that all the monetary donations go into a fund that is managed by the city’s finance department. These funds are used toward the end of the drive to purchase toys the drive needs to help families. Leftover funds are held in the account for the next year.

Other toy collection sites in the city include the Waxahachie Daily Light located at 200 W. Marvin Avenue, KBEC 1390 radio station located at 711 Ferris Avenue, and the Edward Jones Office located at 1714 Ferris Avenue. Donations of Toys are taken up until the toy distribution on Dec. 16.

Anyone with questions about the toy drive can contact Hernandez through his department email at jhernandez@waxahachiefire.org.