PHILADELPHIA – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) team at Philadelphia International Airport recognized that the holiday season was likely to be rough on children whose families were struggling during the pandemic due to so many job losses in the region and they wanted to do something about it, so they conducted a Toys for Tots drive that resulted in collecting about twice as many toys this year as in years past.
“There was an amazing outpouring of support” during the month-long collection period, which collected 12 large U.S. Marines Toys for Tots boxes, said Shawn Jones, TSA’s Model Workplace Program Manager. TSA employees contributed toys for children of all ages through Toys for Tots boxes throughout the airport. Lead TSA Officer Larry Dorns collected cash donations from each shift and offered to do the shopping to fill the donation boxes, Jones said, adding that the employee union also generously contributed to the collection.
“The TSA team here at Philadelphia has heart,” said Gerardo Spero, TSA’s Federal Security Director for Philadelphia International Airport. “Not only are they dedicated to the mission of ensuring safe travel for people who choose to fly during this pandemic, but they recognize that there are others who live in our very neighborhoods who are less fortunate and they have taken action to help ensure that area youngsters will have a joyful holiday.”
“We wanted to give back to the community,” Jones said. “We haven’t forgotten how the community supported us during the government shutdown and 35-day furlough. There have been numerous newscasts showing families that are food insecure and one can only imagine the type of Christmas the children in those families might experience,” Jones said. “We wanted to make a difference for those families, for those children.”