Local groups are organizing a holiday toy drive to help children in need in Bay Co.

CALLAWAY, Fla. (WMBB) – Over the past 20 years, two groups have collaborated to create a holiday spirit in the community.

Project 25, an effort created by the Bay County Sheriff’s Office in 1980, is dedicated to helping less fortunate families give gifts to their children.

“We have a lot of children we need to help, and I don’t lie down on Christmas Eve until I know that every child who has asked for help is getting it,” said the project coordinator. , Becky Johns.

Johns has since retired from the Sheriff’s Office, but she said the project was still her passion.

“I’ve been involved in this for so long that I don’t know of any other solution,” she said. “So I approached the sheriff and asked him if I could continue, and he said, ‘Absolutely. “”

The group has partnered with the American Muscle Car Club based in Panama City two decades ago.

They held their annual toy drive and auto show in Callaway on Sunday.

“We’re doing it because it’s for the kids,” club president Sammy Allen said. “They have no other way to get anything except if we help them.”

Allen said he raised several thousand dollars in toys and donations at the event.

The toys will later be delivered to local elementary schools for counselors to distribute to families in need.

Johns said some previous children she had helped thanked her as adults.

“It’s worth it… These kids who remember when they were young having nothing, and here is an organization with the sheriff’s office that thinks enough of them to make sure they don’t go without Christmas.” Johns said. “That’s why I’m doing it.”

Learn more about Project 25 and how you can get involved in its mission.

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