Local organizations recently joined forces to spread the holiday spirit.
Century 21 Blue Marlin Pelican, a local real estate agency, worked in partnership with the North Florida Region Porsche Club of America Tuesday to bring joy to children at Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast.
During the eighth annual Toy Drive Drop for Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast, more than 300 toys were donated to the hospital to give to kids who are either their as a patient or visiting a love one who is.
Jerry Sullivan, Century 21 Blue Marlin Pelican president, shared that this was one of the most successful Toy Drive Drops yet and that the two groups collected more than $1,500 in toys each.
"Our staff and our agents are very fortunate to live and work in this environment and anything that we can do to give back, we just love doing it," Sullivan said.
When the companies first started collecting toys, he said they had a hard time finding a way to distribute them — until they were referred to Jeff Ryan, a former chaplain at Sacred Heart.
Fast forward eight years, and Sullivan said that apart from making about 50 donations the first year, the event averages more than 100 gifted toys annually.
"The folks that are the members of the (Porsche) club are probably on the more fortunate scale of things, and so it's a way the club kind of gives back to the community," said Roy Vaughn, president of the North Florida Region Porsche Club of America, who shared the Toy Drive Drop is one of five annual charity events they participate in across the region.
Those at the hospital who got an early Christmas included Lex and Oliver Watson, two brothers from Springfield taking refuge with their family in Miramar Beach after Hurricane Michael.
"It's heartwarming after losing everything. It's just wonderful to see there are still good people and that people do care," said Laura McQueen, mother of the two boys. "It's a wonderful surprise."
Sullivan said after Michael, he wanted to extend his holiday efforts past the annual Toy Drive Drop. On Dec. 14, an additional four boxes of toys, two truckloads of supplies and $500 in cash were taken to Springfield Community Church in Panama City.
"We make our living in the community, and to be able to give back to the community when somebody finds need is just an honor and privilege for us," Sullivan said.