Peachtree City police team up with residents to help needy kids

Peachtree City police team up with residents to help needy kids

Peachtree City Police Department’s Light Up the Night Toy Drive is in full swing. There are still a few remaining opportunities to help make Christmas special for local kids in need.

Above, carrying on a Peachtree City tradition of giving — Doing their part for the Peachtree City Police Department’s annual Light Up the Night Toy Drive for needy kids are, from left, department staff Ryan MacCallum, Heather Scott, Stan Pye, Steven Stoyell and Gary Meier, joined by Beechwood subdivision residents Jerry Neese and Denny Spaulding, who have carried on the practice of supplying Christmas stocking for needy kids, an effort started in the early 1990s by the late David Hanahan. Photo/Peachtree City Police Department.

Sponsored by the police department and staffed by officers and Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) members, the Light Up the Night Toy Drive again this year are being held at the Walmart store off Ga. Highway 54 West and at the Kmart store in the Braelinn Village Shopping Center on Crosstown Drive.

Commenting on the annual event, Assistant Police Chief Stan Pye said it began in 1992 with just a couple of families identified as being in need.

“But over the years it grew,” said Pye, explaining that the name of the event came initially from the lights on police cars lighting up the night when delivering Christmas presents.

And over the years the effort did grow. This year, Christmas gifts will be provided for approximately 140 children who attend Peachtree City schools, Pye said, adding that the families are vetted by the police department.

“Today, this means that more kids need help, but at the same time, we’re glad we are able to supply that need,” Pye said.

Another facet of the spirit of giving to those in need was initiated by the late David Hanahan, a resident of the Beechwood subdivision.

“David started in the early 1990s, dropping off Christmas stocking for kids at the police department. He always did it anonymously,” said Pye, noting that Hanahan passed away earlier in the year. “The residents of the subdivision kept the spirit alive in his honor. They donated 100 filled stockings to the toy drive.”

That effort, like so many unnamed others, doubtless shows that the spirit of giving, not just receiving, is alive and well.

The final dates for donations at Walmart between the hours of 5:30-9 p.m. are Dec. 14 and 15.

The final date for donations at Kmart will be Dec. 16 between 5:30-9 p.m.

“This is one of the most successful community outreach programs sponsored by the police department,” said department spokesperson Odilia Bergh.