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Toy drive gives back to local community

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Patrick's 1st Sergeants Association will be making the holiday season just a little bit brighter for more than 300 foster children throughout Brevard County, according to Senior Master Sgt. Bill Trainer, who is heading up his organization's 6th annual Toy Drive.

Sergeant Trainer said his association works hand-in-hand with Community Based Care of Brevard to help those in need find a little something extra under the Christmas tree.
CBC of Brevard is the non-profit organization selected by the Department of Children and Families to manage Brevard's child-welfare system.

"This is just another small way that Patrick Air Force Base and our 1st Sergeant's Association can join hands and give something back to the community we live in ...they are always there to help us, so we really enjoy the opportunity to give something back," said Sergeant Trainer.
And he said the recipients of the gift-giving make it all worth it. "The idea of some child waking up Christmas morning and not being able to open a gift is a sad one, but it's also a reality," he said. "We want to do what we can to make sure that doesn't happen on our watch if we can help it."

Sergeant Trainer said the 300 names are divided among the base's squadrons, and there is a by-name list, complete with the child's age and what they would like to receive.
"You won't be buying an anonymous gift; you'll be buying something for a specific child, and you'll be buying what they want," he said.

CBC leaders make it clear they appreciate all the help.

"Hundreds of children would not receive gifts this holiday season without the generous support of the Patrick 1st Sergeant's Association," said Dr. Patricia Nellius-Guthrie, CEO of CBC of Brevard. "We are honored by their dedication and commitment to the children of our community."

She also said that over the course of the past six years, the association has donated more than 6,000 gifts to children in foster care.

Wednesday is the deadline for those willing to participate. For more information, contact your unit first sergeant.