Thanks to COVID-19, we've seen several annual events in the Tri-State get cancelled to prevent the possible spread of the virus this year. However, there is one event that COVID can't stop, and that's our annual 911 Gives Hope for the Holidays Toy Drive.

Just like the past 11 years, we'll park the 53-foot trailer in the parking lot of Walmart on Burkhardt Road in Evansville, set up "camp," and ask you to to help fill the trailer full of toys for kids spending the holidays in Tri-State hospitals from 6:00 a.m. Friday, December 4th through 6:00 p.m. Sunday, December 6th. With that said, we are very much aware that COVID-19 continues to spread across the Tri-State, and have put the following protocols in place not only to keep ourselves safe, but to allow you to safely make a donation as well.

How the 2020 Toy Drive Will Be Different

No Visit from Santa Claus

One of the many highlights of each year's drive is the visit from Santa. Over the past few years, we've set him up in his own heated tent so he can visit with any kids who want to come by and tell him what they're hoping he'll bring them for Christmas. Knowing that he has a very important job to do on Christmas Eve, we felt it would be best if ol' St. Nick sat this year out. This will also help keep crowd levels down as there is normally a line of kids and parents waiting their turn to chat with the head elf. We look forward to Santa returning for the 2021 drive.

Contactless Donations

In past years, you've had a couple of options when it came to dropping off your donation. You could either park your vehicle near our set up and walk your donation over, or you could pull your vehicle up near the trailer and hand it to us through the window. We've also had members of local groups and organizations go into Walmart, buy a cart load of toys, and push the entire cart to us. This year we'll have things set up "drive-thru" style as illustrated in the photos below. You'll pull in from the Walmart building side, and after bringing your car to stop, pop your trunk, and either a station representative, or someone with 911 Gives Hope will take your donation while you stay safe and sound in your car. After we get your toy, you'll pull forward, turn left around the end of the parking row, and leave the lot. We'll have barricades and signs in place to help guide you through.

911 Gives Hope via Facebook
911 Gives Hope via Facebook
Masks Will Be Required

All station employees and 911 Gives Hope representatives on site either broadcasting, taking your donations, or both will be required to wear masks at all times, not only to keep ourselves safe from each other, but to keep you safe as well.

This year will mark the 12th year we've held our toy drive, and thanks to you we have never not filled the trailer from front to back with your donations. That includes the year we had to cancel the entire first day due to an ice storm that moved into the Tri-State literally hours before we were set to begin. While things will be a little different due to the pandemic, we're confident you'll be willing to follow our protocols and help us fill it once again.

Donations will be accepted around the clock over the course of the weekend. So, even if you work 2nd or 3rd shift and want to make a donation before or after you get off work, someone will be there to take it.

All donations will be distributed to Deaconess, Ascension-St. Vincent, ECHO Health Clinic, and both Ronald McDonald House locations in Evansville.

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