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RFD toy drive reaches hundreds for Christmas

More than 200 children had a merry Christmas in Franklin County thanks to the efforts of the Russellville Fire Department, Russellville Police Department and every generous person who donated cash or toys to the Helping Santa Toy Drive.

“Our donations were great this year,” said RPD Terry Saint, who annually compiles the list of applicants and does background paperwork to organize the process and let the RFD know how many children of what ages are in need. “It gives a lot of kids something for Christmas they wouldn’t normally get.”

Saint said the drive provided gifts to 96 children in Russellville and 18 in the county, plus nearly a hundred more who missed the initial application deadline. “Nobody was turned down,” she said.

Touching stories punctuated this year’s program – stories of people who will truly appreciate the giving hearts of those who donated.

“I had people calling at the last minute. They had people who were in an abusive relationship and had left their spouse,” Saint said, “and they had nothing. They left with nothing. So they wanted to sign up.

“A lot of kids will be getting something who normally wouldn’t be getting anything. All kids need to get something for Christmas.”

“They should all wake up and have something under the tree,” RFD Capt. Randy Seal added.

Some recipients were driven to tears, like the women who received a tricycle for her child. “Some of them aren’t expecting to get as nice of gifts as they receive,” Saint explained.

RFD’s Rhett Bradford said the past couple of years, the department has had to worry whether donations would be enough to meet the need. That wasn’t the case this year.

“We had plenty. We were actually able to give each kid more stuff this year,” Seal agreed.