DeFuniak Springs, Fla. (WMBB) – Time to get a head start on Christmas shopping. Holiday toy drives are underway on the panhandle. 

The Battle of the Badges is in its third year in Walton County.  

Defuniak Springs Police Chief James Hurley and Fire Chief Ross Sheffield go head-to-head each year to collect the most toys and donations to help families in need.  

The toy drive goes directly to the Matrix Community Outreach Center.  

The Matrix gets names from the Walton County School District of families in need of toys and help during the holidays.  

Last year the Battle of the Badges collected a trailer full of gifts for 500 kids in Walton County. 

The departments are getting a head start asking for cash donations this October at either the police or fire stations.  

Chief Hurley said he hopes with it being early, the community can give more before budgets get tight. 

“It doesn’t matter if it’s a dollar or $5 or $500 you know, any little bit helps. And I think it’ll make them feel good about giving. And I can assure you it definitely goes for the intended purpose it definitely goes for our children and making sure they have a good holiday season,” said James Hurley, DeFuniak Springs Police Chief  

A Community Christmas event will be on December 2nd at the Walmart in DeFunaik Springs to bring toys to each team in the battle.

Learn more about the Battle of the Badges on the Matrix COC Facebook page.