Thousands of people waited in line starting as early as 3 a.m. as Prince George’s County Police held its annual Toys For Tots distribution Saturday.
Of course, the event included a visit from Santa, who pulled up in a squad car with knickknacks to give to kids who were waiting in line outside.
Inside the building, what is usually a police gymnasium had been taken over by toys. Towers of dolls and balls, row-after-row of bikes and giant columns of board games were just some of the toys on hand.
Doors opened at 8 a.m., and as long as anyone who registered ahead of time arrived by 6 p.m., they were going home with a big bag of toys.
“We have over 58,000 toys to give away today, and we’re going to make sure we give every kid as many toys as possible,” Sgt. Kwesi Dadzie said.
“We’ll make sure every kid today will have a toy,” added Dadzie. “It’s important because it’s not about the gifts, it’s about the effect of giving.”
Dadzie also said events like this help police reach out to the community in a positive way, and not just on someone’s worst day.
“I see people that need, and knowing that a person in uniform is there to help them, not only in the bad times, but also in the good times,” he said.
After Saturday’s distribution, leftover toys will be loaded up and given to area non-profits that the department partners with for further distribution.