As part of the Florida District 5 Kids Helping Kids Initiative, its third annual Toy Drive Games collected a record 1,170 items to benefit local families in the Tampa, FL area.
Over the weekend of Dec. 6-8, Cross Bayou Little League hosted games for any Little Leaguer within the district that wished to participate and help those in needed for the holiday season. Any player from a Florida District 5 Little League program who wished to participate only had to provide one toy to their local league. A total of 20 teams and nearly 200 players participated during the three-day event.
The drive collected over 400 toys and received a donation of 750 additional items, which included suitcases, purses, and art supplies. All the items will be donated to the Boys and Girls Club of Tampa Bay. In addition to the donations, the players also signed Christmas cards that will be distributed to military personnel.
The 1,170 total donated items were the largest amount in the three-year history of the event. Over 2,220 items have been collected and donated since 2017. It was also the highest number of participating teams for the event.
“I have always wanted to find a way to do more,” said Florida 5 District Administrator Michelle Jones, who organized the Games and the Kids Helping Kids Initiative. “When the parents say thank you for hosting the games,” Jones adds as to why these events are so special. “For me, it is watching the kids of all ages run up and hug Santa when he comes on the field.”
During the Little League special games event, players were visited in-game by Santa Claus, who greeted children and posed for photos.
Florida District 5’s Kids Helping Kids Initiative also hosts a food drive in February and March to help feed those in need after the holidays.