Many needy families in Reynoldsburg struggle to surprise kids with toys on Christmas morning, but the city's fire and police departments are collecting new toys again this year to help solve that dilemma.

Toys for Kids

Mary Burcham, a project administrator at the Truro Township Fire Department, said Toys for Kids is separate from the Toys-for-Tots drive sponsored by the Columbus Fire Department each year.

"Our drive is specifically aimed at children of all ages that reside in the Reynoldsburg City School District," she said.

People may drop off new, unwrapped toys or check/cash donations, at either of the Truro fire stations, at 6900 E. Main St. or 6305 E. Livingston Ave, by Dec. 21. Checks should be made payable to Reynoldsburg Toys for Kids.

Burcham said cash and check donations are used to purchase gift cards for older children in the family.

She said applications for assistance, along with criteria for eligibility, are still available at the fire stations. These will be collected from 3 to 6 p.m. Dec. 10 and from 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 11 at the East Main Street station.

Burcham will contact approved applicants with a date and time for toy pickup.

"This program is much needed in our community and provides kids that would otherwise get nothing or very little for Christmas the opportunity to enjoy opening presents from Santa Claus," she said. "It also provides parents assistance with what can be a very stressful time if they don't have the means to purchase presents for their children.

"I've been doing this for so long, I can't imagine not doing it every year," she said. "It gives the people the opportunity to assist other community members and gives me the chance to fulfill my passion for giving and serving."

Burcham called the program a "win-win" for all involved and said local merchants and organizations also have been encouraged to participate.

She said TS Tech America staff members are collecting toys for the project, as is the Reynoldsburg Division of Police.

Legos for Braxton

Officer Tony Hines, from the Community Resource Bureau at the Reynoldsburg Division of Police, said the department also has been collecting new toys.

"We had our Fill the Cruiser set up at Christmas on the Town this past weekend and we are still collecting Lego sets for Braxton," he said.

People may drop off new, unwrapped toys and/or Lego block sets at the Reynoldsburg Division of Police station, 7240 E. Main St., until Dec. 20.

The Lego sets will be donated to Nationwide Children's Hospital.

The project is in memory of Braxton Long, who died July 24 at age 8 after battling cancer for more than two. The Slate Ridge first-grader made it his goal to collect 2,000 Lego sets to give to children at Nationwide Children's Hospital for Christmas, so his family and several city organizations are working to meet that goal.