The Lampasas volunteer and city fire departments’ annual Christmas Toy Drive will benefit nearly 200 local families this year.

“This has been an annual event of the Lampasas Fire Department since 1880,” Volunteer Fire Chief Randy Lake said. “Back then, the department would hand out food to kids at Christmas, which consisted of an orange, an apple and any available food they had on hand.”

The fire department stopped handling food donations about four years ago to focus on the toy drive, Lake said.

Families can apply for toy donations by contacting local churches.

Lake said church membership is not required, but families must fill out and return a toy drive application that specifies the ages of and other information about the children who will receive the gifts.

Lake said the donations will be organized and the remaining gifts purchased a few days before the distribution.

“Whatever is left over always goes back into the program for next year, so there’s always money to help the kids,” he said. “If we have extra toys, we share those with the Adamsville and Lometa volunteer fire departments.”

Lampasas firefighter and EMT Josh Straley enjoys helping with the Christmas Toy Drive and pitched in the last several years.

“I just enjoy helping the families and the kids have a great Christmas, and the children are very, very happy,” Straley said.

Donations of cash, checks and new, unwrapped toys for children ages 14 and under will be accepted at the city’s new fire station at 1107 E. Fourth St. through Dec. 13.

The toys will be distributed to families from 8 to 10 a.m. Dec. 14.

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