Boxes and bags filled with toys have been flowing into the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) administrative offices over the past several weeks thanks to the generosity of the agency's employees.
"We have a longstanding tradition of collecting gifts for the needy during the holidays. With so many people struggling with the economy, we weren't sure it would be appropriate to ask for donations this year," says PSTA Director of Transportation and Gift Drive Coordinator Denise Skinner. "However, before we could even make a decision, our staff asked us if they could hold a gift drive for the needy. As far as I'm concerned, their generosity and kindness are the perfect embodiment of the holiday spirit."
In years past, PSTA employees partnered with Lutheran Services of Florida and Eckerd Youth Alternatives to supply toys to needy children, so they reached out to the agencies again this year for a list of children and their holiday wishes. PSTA staff was so responsive that organizers had to ask for more names and wish lists because the initial group was taken so quickly. So far, more than 50 children have been accommodated — and employees are still bringing in gifts.
To ensure that the presents make it to the recipients for the holidays, PSTA employees loaded the gifts onto a special Holiday Express, hybrid SmartBus on Friday, December 16, 2011 at 1:30 pm. and then delivered the gifts to Lutheran Services at 8550 Ulmerton Road in Largo. Staff from Lutheran Services and Eckerd Youth Alternatives will make sure that the gifts get to the kids on time.