Two decades ago, before Bob Peryam was elected sheriff, he and several co-workers in daily contact with families in need organized a toy drive to help brighten Christmas morning.
Toyz for Keyz Kidz, a yearly effort by the Sheriff’s Office employees throughout the county, is a dedicated group of individuals that work in partnership with the Salvation Army to distribute toys and food during the holidays. All money and all toys that are collected in the Florida Keys remain here and benefit needy local families.
Several local businesses and all Sheriff Substations throughout the county are accepting toys during normal business hours, but more importantly, opportunities will soon be available for families to register for some additional help this holiday season.
To register for help in the Middle Keys, come to the Marathon Sheriff’s Substation at 3103 Overseas Highway in Marathon on Dec. 6 and 7 from 5–7 pm.
To register for help in the Upper Keys (Islamorada to Key Largo), come to the Sheriff’s Office at 50 High Point Road in Tavernier on Dec. 8 and 9 from 3–6 pm.
Families must present the following items:
• Proof of income (a tax form or pay check stub)
• Birth certificates of all children in the household
• Proof of residence in Monroe County (to include rent receipts, a driver’s license, utility bills, etc.).
Keys Cops for Kids is proud to host its Fifth Annual Toyz for Keyz Kidz Bowlathon at The Fish Bowl in Islamorada, 83238 Overseas Hwy. on Saturday, Dec. 11 from 12 noon to 3 pm. The cost, which includes unlimited games and shoe rental, is $25 and an unwrapped gift. For the first time since its inception, this year, each paying adult can bring one 12 year old or young child for free.
Middle Keys organizer Sgt. Linda Mixon reported that Sheriff Peryam is inviting any individuals or business owners to drop by Sparky’s Landing on Key Colony Beach to promote their business or event during the Monday Night Madness Radio Show Dec. 6 and Dec. 13 beginning at 7 pm in exchange for a donation of cash, gift cards to a local grocery store or new, unwrapped toy.
Marathon businesses that wish to assist with the effort are asked to wrap a large box with Christmas paper and begin collecting donations of new, unwrapped toys. Someone will be available to collect the toys when the box becomes full. Program representatives will also be visiting area businesses in the near future to ask for corporate sponsorships. To be a sponsor, businesses are asked to donate $300.
On Dec. 12, Boondocks on Ramrod Key will be accepting donations during Winterfest. Photos with Santa and plenty of other holiday festivities will begin at 3 pm. Lower Keys Toyz coordinator Tiffany O’Connell said that unfortunately, the Salvation Army has already closed the application process due to the overwhelming need from families from Big Pine to Stock Island.
“On average, we serve about 90 kids,” O’Connell said. “In the past, we’ve also assisted families through the Easter Seals and Guardian ad Litem program. We’ll do our best to serve.
Sunday, Dec. 19 will be the day that Toyz for Keyz Kidz distributes items to area families, so the deadline for dropping off cash donations or new, unwrapped toys is Friday, Dec. 17.
For more information about Toyz for Keyz Kidz, contact Tiffany O’Connell in the Lower Keys at 305-296-2424, Linda Mixon in the Middle Keys at 305-797-0089 or Peggy Bryan in the Upper Keys at 305-853-3211.
The following businesses are currently accepting donations for Toyz for Keyz Kidz:
Animal Hospital of the Keys
Bubba’s Bar B Que
City of Marathon Fire Rescue
D’Asign Source & Co. Inc.
Dolphin Research Center
Driftwood Pizza & Subs
Gioia’s Hair & Nail Salon
Marathon Veterinary Hospital
Marathon Yacht Club
Monroe County Sheriff’s Marathon Sub-Station
The ECMC Incredible Fruit Stand
TIB Bank Of The Keys