Local first responders host Beyond the Badge toy drive

JACKSON, Tenn —  The countdown to Christmas has begun and first responders in the Jackson-Madison county area are teaming up to host a toy drive for kids this holiday season. Emergency personnel are going above and beyond the call of duty to make sure kids have presents under the tree on Christmas day.

Shoppers hit the streets Saturday afternoon and many were greeted by local first responders.

“We got highway patrol, Madison county fire, Jackson city fire, also Air-Evac, we also have EMS from the area we’re just all coming together to try to make a difference in this area,” State trooper, Gena Eubanks said.

Those agencies are part of the ‘Beyond the Badge’ coalition, where they band together to help families in need.

“We’re collecting toys and monetary donations to be able to give back to the kids this holiday season whether it’s toys or being able to go get them some clothes or shoes,” Eubanks said.

First responders setup donation tables near the North and South Jackson Walmart.

Eubanks said it wouldn’t have been possible without the community’s support. “The turnout has been phenomenal it was better than it was last year,” Eubanks said. “The community outreach for this has been unbelievable,”

Many shoppers dropped off toys and cash as they went by hoping their donation will spread holiday cheer.

“It’s just good to give,” Donor, Beth Burks said.

In the spirit of giving back, organizers say hosting an annual toy drive is their way of showing generosity while lending a helping hand.

“I can speak for probably everyone it feels great to be able to give back to the community especially during the holiday season,” Eubanks said.

Organizers said they don’t have an exact date on when they’ll be handing out toys, but they plan on partnering with other agencies to find families who will benefit from the items.

If you weren’t able to donate Saturday, but would like to you can contact the Tennessee Highway Patrol Jackson office at 731-423-6635, or the Madison County Fire Department at 731-424-5577.