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"Toys from Cops" event helps kids in need in Sullivan County

VIDEO: "Toys from Cops" event helps kids in need in Sullivan County

{p style="margin-bottom:.0001pt; margin:0in 0in 8pt"}The Sullivan County Sheriff's Department gave out toys to kids in need Saturday and Sunday during the annual Toys from Cops event.SULLIVAN COUNTY, Tenn. -

{p style="margin-bottom:.0001pt; margin:0in 0in 8pt"}For Etaka Valenzuela, it has been a tough year. She has been trying to care for her son, who has a disability.

{p style="margin-bottom:.0001pt; margin:0in 0in 8pt"}"This year I lost my job because one of them is disabled,” Valenzuela said. “So it really does help out during Christmas time."

{p style="margin-bottom:.0001pt; margin:0in 0in 8pt"}Her daughter, Briana, chose an Easy Bake oven, and her sons chose bikes. Sheriff Wayne Anderson said the event is special for officers too.

{p style="margin-bottom:.0001pt; margin:0in 0in 8pt"}"It's very heartwarming,” Anderson said. “You meet some of the poorest kids, and they're so happy to get a toy. You know, that's all they want, just some toy to play with, and it just really fulfills what Christmas is all about."

{p style="margin-bottom:.0001pt; margin:0in 0in 8pt"}The event has grown over the past 15 years. This year, the department raised about $25,000 worth of donations.

{p style="margin-bottom:.0001pt; margin:0in 0in 8pt"}"We had like 160 bicycles, brand new bicycles,” Anderson said. “We've got the ovens for little kids to play with, dolls, remote controlled cars. There's something for everybody."

{p style="margin-bottom:.0001pt; margin:0in 0in 8pt"}It makes a difference for parents and children.

{p style="margin-bottom:.0001pt; margin:0in 0in 8pt"}"It does help during Christmas time to be able to buy them gifts and stuff," Valenzuela said.

{p style="margin-bottom:.0001pt; margin:0in 0in 8pt"}The sheriff's department coordinates with local schools to determine which children are most in need. They also give out clothes and shoes at the event to people who need them.

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