Sheriff Mike Neal saw a need to provide help for needy children and adults in Rhea County and started the annual Christmas toy drive in 2002 and the coat drive in 2003. The program has steadily grown and at Christmas 2008 approximately 1200 children were provided with toys, clothing and coats that they would not otherwise have had the opportunity to receive. Countless needy adults have also been provided with warm coats and clothing through this program.
The Sheriff’s Department works year round accepting donations of coats, clothing and toys as well as monetary donations from citizens, public service organizations and businesses. Many churches also participate by adopting families on the Sheriff’s Department’s list and making donations to the program. In October each year, the Rhea County Sheriff’s Department begins taking applications for toys.
The applications are screened and the families are placed on the list for help. Christmas 2008 saw the acceptance of Rhea County Sheriff’s Department as a member of the Toys for Tots program sponsored by the U.S. Military. If you or someone you know needs a warm coat, we urge you to contact the Rhea County Sheriff’s Department any day.