Delray Beach Police seek help for annual toy drive

Delray Beach police say they’ve been collecting hundreds of toys to give to kids, now they’re scrambling to get enough toys in time for Christmas.

The annual Christmas toy drive has turned into a sort of Christmas crisis for police.

“Once you open it up, you’ll notice you’ll immediately smell mold in here,” police spokesperson Ted White said as he was about to walk inside a metal shipping container.

“You can see the presence of a lot of moisture, a lot of mold,” White said.

Police say hundreds of toys being stored in a metal shipping container at the police station appear to be ruined, contaminated with mold. The toys were going to be distributed to underprivileged children for Christmas. White says police were not aware until now that the shipping container had leaks.

“This is devastating because a lot of these toys were going to help more than 2,200 children in the community,” he said.

Mold is clearly visible on some of the boxes. Police say a few new bikes can be saved, but they estimate about 3/4 of the toys will have to be thrown out.

The toys came from collection boxes at dozens of local restaurants and businesses. John Goldstein, a retired teacher and school principal who now lives in Delray Beach, says he gave toys to the police toy drive this year. “Luckily, my children never went with a Christmas without toys and I can’t even imagine what it’s like for any child to go through any holiday, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa without the joy of toys,” he said.

Goldstein says given the situation with the mold and the toys, he’ll try to donate another toy. “I feel that all children should feel the wonder of the holidays,” he said.

Police hope people will see this story and drop off toys at the police station or at the more than 60 businesses in Delray that have collection boxes.

They plan to start distributing the toys next Thursday.

Questions? Call Delray Beach Police at 561-243-7841.

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