ANKENY, Iowa — The Ankeny Fire Department’s one goal Sunday was to fill a fire truck to the brim with toys.
“To see kids and families come up here and donate toys for the less fortunate individual makes it all worthwhile,” Marines veteran and Ankeny Firefighter Mark Amann said. “Just to see a smile on a kid’s face knowing that he’s helping or she’s helping someone else have a smile on Christmas day.”
Each December for the past 15 years, the Ankeny Fire Department with Toys for Tots and the Marine Corps Reserve has worked to collect unwrapped toys to distribute to central Iowa parents who cannot afford to buy gifts for Christmas. The grand finale is a three-hour “fill the fire truck toy drive” outside the Ankeny Fire Department Headquarters. Many of the parents donating on Sunday chose to bring their children to make sure they understood why they are giving some toys away this Christmas.
“I thought it was good to get these guys involved in it. This was a good way where they could actually get something out of it, by seeing the fire truck and being able to donate the toys themselves,” said Derek Clark, an Ankeny father.
“We actually brought some toys up earlier in the week just for the Toys for Tots program, so we thought [to] try to get him to do as many projects as possible, just to help out other little boys and girls too,” said Cornelius Caudel, another Ankeny father.
Last year, they collected over 900 toys for children in central Iowa. They say with Sunday’s nice weather, they are almost certain to break the thousand mark.