Annual Giving Tree Program shares holiday joy in major way

350 students will receive over 3,000 gifts

By Bridgett Ellison - Anchor

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - Heading into the holidays, great things are happening in our schools, and the community showed up in a big way for hundreds of Seminole County students in need this year.

Seminole County school resource deputies just finished wrapping thousands of gifts they helped collect over the last several weeks. They helped collect the toys through donation drives at their local schools and throughout the community with their Pack a Patrol Car events. It's part of the annual Giving Tree Program, a partnership between Seminole County social workers, the school district and deputies to make kids' Christmas wishes come true.

"The response from the community has been overwhelming. Our district reached out to our community, and as always, they stepped forward. Three-hundred and fifty students will receive over 3,000 gifts. There are 45 bikes out there, a lot of joy in a lot of homes, Superintendent Walt Griffin said.

"This is probably one of my favorite parts of this job. To build those partnerships with the community and make sure no kid goes without Christmas is an unbelievable blessing," Lt. Kelly Martin, Seminole County Sheriff's Office school resource deputy, said.

This year, more students than ever will benefit from the program. Many of them are living in hotels or temporary housing.

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