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Police collecting toys for Christmas project

Posted on November 24, 2021

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Pictured from left are Senior Police Officers P. Sherrill, R. Mooring, E. Hayes and B. Ochoa. Wilson police officers will be stationed outside Walmart on Forest Hills Road through Dec. 15 to collect toys and food for the department’s annual Christmas in the South program.

Olivia Neeley | Times

Pictured from left are Senior Police Officers P. Sherrill, R. Mooring, E. Hayes and B. Ochoa. Wilson police officers will be stationed outside Walmart on Forest Hills Road through Dec. 15 to collect toys and food for the department’s annual Christmas in the South program.

olivia@wilsontimes.com | 252-265-7879

Looking to help a child in need this holiday season? The Wilson Police Department is gearing up for its annual Christmas in the South program, which ensures children don’t go without during Christmas.

Police officers have been stationed outside the Walmart Supercenter on Forest Hills Road collecting food and toys. The program is for children up to age 17.

Toy drives will be held from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. each Wednesday through mid-December — Nov. 24, Dec. 1, Dec. 8 and Dec. 15 — at Walmart.

The program is made possible through donations from the community, businesses, police officers and city of Wilson employees. Senior Police Officer Reggie Branch started the program in 1997 by offering toys for area kids in the police department’s South District. Since then, the program has grown. It now serves serves hundreds of kids each year.

“Everybody gets involved,” Branch said.

For the second year, Christmas in the South will operate differently due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Police officers will go door-to-door and play Santa Claus to families selected for the program. Christmas in the South is typically held in a large space where children are able to select their own toys.

Branch said the best part about program is “the smiles on the kids faces knowing that they have Christmas.”

People who want to donate nonperishable food or toys but can’t attend one of the Wednesday donation drives can drop items off at the Wilson Police Department, 120 Goldsboro St. E. In addition to those items, police said they are always in need of coats and toboggan caps.

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