Local groups hold holiday toy drive to help Bay Co. children in need

Bay County

CALLAWAY, Fla. (WMBB) — For the past 20 years, two groups have collaborated for some holiday spirit in the community.

Project 25, an effort created by the Bay County Sheriff’s Office in 1980, has had the mission of helping less fortunate families provide gifts for their children.

“We have a lot of kids that we need to help, and I don’t lay down at night Christmas Eve until I know that every child that has requested help, gets help,” project coordinator Becky Johns said.

Johns has since retired from the sheriff’s office, but she said this project is still her passion.

“I have been involved with it for so long that I don’t know any other way,” she said. “So I approached the Sheriff and asked him if I can continue it, and he said, ‘Absolutely.'”

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

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

“We do it because it’s for the kids,” club president Sammy Allen said. “They don’t have any other way to get anything other than if we help them.”

Allen said they raised several thousand dollars worth of toys and donations at the event.

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

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

“That makes it all worth it… These kids that remember when they were young not having nothing, and here is an organization with the sheriff’s office that thinks enough about them to make sure they don’t do without Christmas,” Johns said. “That’s why I do it.”

Learn more about Project 25 and how you can become involved with its mission.

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