When things settle down and all seems quiet on the city's streets, Anniston police Sgt. Chris Leach says, police officers will sometimes stop to throw a football with children playing outside.
That is, when there’s a football to throw. Leach said recently that one group of kids lacking a football sparked a communitywide effort led by the Anniston Police Department’s street crimes unit.
“That one thing got us thinking about doing something bigger,” Leach said. “We wanted to give back to these kids in our area who don’t have much of anything.”
The department will be accepting new, unwrapped toys from the public through Dec. 14, Leach said. Donated toys may be dropped off in the Police Department’s lobby, where there’s a large box wrapped in blue paper dotted with snowflakes.
Leach said the street crimes team will likely partner with an organization such as Toys for Tots to distribute the toys to local children in need.
The city’s officers keep stuffed bears in their cars, Leach said, to give to children is crisis situations. He said comforting a child, even through a small gift, makes more of an impact than expected.
“Little things make such a difference to kids,” Leach said.