Community toy drive at the Child Advocacy Center


The holidays are a stressful time of year for many families, but to make sure no child is empty-handed on Christmas morning one local nonprofit is asking the community to donate toys.

It might not be Santa’s Workshop, but one local organization has the goal to make sure every child on the Coast wakes up to presents on Christmas morning. Child Advocacy Center Program Director Krystle Hilliard said, “When they wake up on December 25th, they are waking up with smiles on their faces. With the toys that the community came together to sponsor for them.”

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The Child Advocacy Center in Gulfport provides services for child abuse victims all year round. The children go to C.A.C. for forensic interviews and therapy. The toy drive is just another way for C.A.C. to give back. “Anytime that we can provide a glimpse of hope for them, anytime we can provide a stuffed animal or a toy just to brighten up their spirits while they are going through this traumatic time is always a great impact for those kids,” said Hilliard.

This is the C.A.C’s third toy drive. This year they want to make the holidays special for 150 families. Their goal is to give at least ten toys to every child, but they can’t do it without the help of the community. Forensic Interviewer Daniel Dooley said, “Anything we give out is a donation. We try to start advertising early, the more we have, the more we can give.”

The Child Advocacy Center is looking for toys of all types, but they mostly need toys for boys. “We service kids from ages three to 17. We do service the whole family so we are just asking for various toys,’ said Hilliard.

Parents will be able to hand pick the toys for their children to open on Christmas. “The parents come and pick out toys and can really feel good about themselves.”

Toy donations can be dropped off at the CAC office located at 2315 17th Street in downtown Gulfport until next Friday, December 14th.