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Lexington Police unite in spirit of giving for Toys for Tots Drive

Brody Vermillion is all about helping others in need. A trip to Menchie’s in Lexington prompted him to go shopping and buy a gift for a child who may not be fortunate enough to receive a Christmas gift this year. Vermillion gave to the Toys for Tots sponsored by the Lexington Police Department, but his giving doesn’t end there.

Brody Vermillion donates his gift to Corporal Cameron Mortenson at the Toys for Tots drop off at Menchie's Saturday (photo by Natalie Szrajer).

Brody Vermillion donates his gift to Corporal Cameron Mortenson at the Toys for Tots drop off at Menchie’s Saturday (photo by Natalie Szrajer).

When asked why he enjoys giving, his response is simple, “I just do (enjoy giving). I like helping others.” He is an active participant for service projects at his school, Northside Christian Academy, and is getting ready to help with a Veterans project.

Last year, during the October flood he helped with donations for a family who lost everything. The family stayed with his family while they got back on their feet. So when he stopped in for some frozen yogurt and saw the Toys for Tots drive, he knew he had to give back.

The Toys for Tots drive continues through Dec. 9 with the final drive at Target on Sunset Boulevard from 9 a.m. until noon. There are three other opportunities to give this week: Dec. 5 at Walmart in Lexington, Dec. 6 at Kmart in Lexington and again at the Lexington Walmart Dec. 7. All events are from 9 a.m. until noon. For those unable to make the events, donations are accepted at the Lexington Police Department during regular business hours until Dec. 9.

According to Corporal Cameron Mortenson, they are looking forward to a strong finish from the generous Lexington community. “We want to make Christmas bright for the children,” he said.

“The annual Toys for Tots campaign is a great way to provide a gift to a child who may not have a Christmas otherwise. We are looking forward to the generosity of the Town of the Lexington community in filling up our MRAP vehicle with toys for those in need,” said Police Chief Terrence Green.

Every year, expectations have grown for the annual drive, Mortenson said. In fact during the last few years they were able to fill an MRAP full of toys and last year the MRAP was filled to three times its capacity. The MRAP will be at this week’s events also offering an opportunity for children to explore inside.

Just like Vermillion’s giving spirit, Mortenson has seen many families and children with a willing heart stop by to donate. One young girl stopped by the tent to donate a pink bike she saved up for and another family’s children use their allowance money to buy toys for those in need, Mortenson said, adding that all donations stay in the Midlands community.

In addition to the kindness of the community, Mortenson is grateful for the connections with the partners who lend their space. Target, Walmart and Kmart in Lexington have all been gracious, according to Mortenson. This is the first year for Menchie’s in Lexington to participate in the drive and owners Jorge and Megan Gonzalez are excited to help children have a special Christmas.

Devya Patil lets Santa know her wish list at the Toys for Tots site (photo by Natalie Szrajer).

Devya Patil lets Santa know her wish list at the Toys for Tots site (photo by Natalie Szrajer).

The Menchie’s event held on Saturday was a different and fun way for the community to come together while donating to Toys for Tots, according to Mortenson. Free yogurt was given as a reward for donating as was Christmas karaoke offered as an exchange. Additionally, Menchie’s is donating 30 percent of their proceeds during the drive from Saturday. A second partner at this event was the Midlands Fatherhood Coalition who brought the music and their own DJ, Frederick Hogsett, according to Mortenson.

“When you’re a kid, Christmas is all about presents and gifts. Having a Christmas is important to be a part of and that means the world to me to help others,” said Megan Gonzalez. “We love Lexington and love participating with the Lexington Police Department.”

“Our vision statement is ‘we make you smile’ and Toys for Tots does that this time of the year,” Megan added.

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