Janet Hale has been running a holiday toy drive for about 40 years.
Growing up in Tennessee and Michigan, Janet Hale never experienced Christmas at home. When she moved to Florida about 40 years ago, she decided she would give children in the area a merry Christmas by hosting a toy drive. Around 30 years ago she added a Christmas Eve party, requesting that each quest bring an unwrapped toy for a child up to 17 years of age. She said she also gets donations such as clothes, shoes and blankets. Janet Hale donates the toys to the children’s Home Society of Florida, which does work throughout Volusia, Flagler and Putnam counties. Many of the children that receive gifts from the party send Janet thank you cards. “It’s very special to my heart,” Janet said. “I like to see kids get cool things for Christmas. Its all about the kids.”
Janet Hale said that when she first started inviting people over she had around 35 guest. The number has fluctuated over the years, but this year, 300 attended. Janet Hale was also presented with a plague from the children’s Home Society for the service she has done throughout the years. Janet spends about four months preparing for the party and in the past has used all her own funds to put it together. This year larger companies have stepped in with donations to help and while attendees can expect a band and food at Janet’s party there’s another attraction that makes this annual tradition that much more special: Janet Hale’s collection of 800 animated figurines. As much as the event is about helping children, Janet said the party is also a way to give people a place to go on Christmas Eve so that they aren’t alone during the holidays. “Believe it on not, some people have no place to go on Christmas Eve,” Janet said. “I want to make sure people have a nice Christmas.”
Our mission is simple and comes from the heart. Our mission is "To make sure no child goes without during Christmas" I want to make sure people have a nice Christmas.
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