Camille Lightner Playhouse, Brownsville Fire Department to hold toy drive

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Brownsville firefighters collect toys during the December 2020 toy drive as the pandemic was at its height. (Denise Cathey | The Brownsville Herald)

BROWNSVILLE — Wanna help write a toy story?

Bring a brand new toy Saturday to the Camille Lightner Playhouse and you can help a child in need write his or her own toy story this Christmas.

“The Brownsville Fire Department has an annual toy drive collecting new, unwrapped gifts for needy families in Brownsville and Olmito,” said David Salinas, marketing manager and board member at Camille.

“This will be the third year that Camille Playhouse partners with BFD,” Salinas said. “Camille is a designated drop off site every year.”

Numerous organizations are participating in the toy drive, but Camille has its own special event to collect toys for the drive: Santa’s Playhouse Firehouse Toy Drive.

“Folks can drive to Camille and drop off new, unwrapped toys,” Salinas said. “They don’t need to park or get out of their vehicles. We will have volunteers available to collect the toys. Toy donors can take free pictures with Santa. Santa will be onsite for this.”

The event will take place Saturday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Toys are for toddlers and elementary-aged children.

The Brownsville Fire Department began holding this toy drive three years ago during the pandemic. Like many entities and individuals, BFD mobilized to help people survive the chaotic and desperate time when no one knew for sure what the future would bring.

It was a frightening time for everyone, but for children already living in low-income households it was especially traumatic, so BFD rallied to give these children some manner of Christmas cheer, said Diana Trevino, firefighter and medic.

“Our community really needed us,” Trevino said.

Thus observing this need in low-economic neighborhoods, the BFD and its partners have continued the drive.

“It means a lot to us to be able to come together,” she said. “It’s grown a lot more. We are able to receive more toys. “