It’s the wonderful season of giving when many of us contribute a little extra to those with unmet needs. TSA employees at airports across our nation came together and collected toys, clothes, and other donations for communities.
“To whom much is given, much is required,” believes officer Karen Buggs of Florida’s Tallahassee International Airport, who is passionate about giving back to those in need. Tallahassee TSA Cares hosted a sock drive and collected 300 pairs of socks, underwear, gloves, boxes of combs and bag tags. They gave the donated items to the Kearney Center Homeless Shelter.
When Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport’s Lee Hearvey noticed only a couple of items in a Toys for Tots collection box, he shared with his team the heart-wrenching story of how he felt as a child to wake up Christmas morning with nothing under the tree. Hearvey, a transportation security manager, also reminded his team that during the last furlough, TSA employees experienced the relief and gratitude of total strangers stepping in to support them.
“Whether you donate a toy or drop a Christmas card in the box, it’s the thought that counts,” said Hearvey. Over the next few days, the boxes began to overflow with toys for children.
George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston filled eight large boxes for Toys for Tots. “Thanks to all for supporting this worthwhile program by voluntarily donating a new unwrapped toy and helping bring joy to an underprivileged child this holiday season,” commented Federal Security Director Juan Sanchez.
Miami International Airport had its most successful campaign ever for Toys for Tots. The TSA workforce donated bicycles, scooters and other toys for children of all ages. “Our hope during Toys for Tots is to put a smile on any child’s face during the holidays,” said supervisory officer Daryle Viamonte.
Officers at Washington Dulles International Airport supported an annual Fantasy Flight in partnership with United Airlines. Fantasy Flights provide a chance for disadvantaged children and those with special needs or terminal illnesses the chance to simulate travel to the North Pole to see Santa.
Officers at Yakutat Airport in Southeast Alaska helped community children assemble a gingerbread house at a local favorite shop, Fat Grandma’s. The beautiful display of a gingerbread village, complete with a toy train remains at the shop for the community to enjoy throughout the holiday season.
TSA employees donated countless items and hours to local organizations in need. These are just a few examples of ways TSA teams pull together during the busy holiday season to make a difference in their communities.