'The Big Give' holiday drive to fill 18-wheeler full of toys

By Fallon Silcox, Reporter
Last Updated: Thursday, December 14, 2017, 10:52 AM EST

The Christmas spirit is very much alive in Tampa Bay. A special holiday drive is being held to benefit boys and girls in the community who would have nothing for Christmas. 

  • 'The Big Give' holiday drive to fill 18-wheeler full of toys
  • Holiday drive benefiting Toys for Tots
  • Toys given to families, kids in need this Christmas

The goal of "The Big Give" is to collect enough toys from Pinellas County to fill an 18-wheeler for Toys for Tots. 

One family who has received toys from the organization said Toys for Tots kept the Christmas spirit alive for their kids during a very tough time. 

"At that time in my life I really needed help," Nickole Clemens said. 

Clemens said she will never forget that Christmas. Her husband suffered a debilitating stroke and she only worked part time. They had no idea how they would come through for their kids. 

"I didn't want to give my children any kind of bad news and that's the mind frame I was in at the time that I would have to have this talk with them," she recalled. 

Thanks to a co-worker, Clemens found out about Toys for Tots, and now that Christmas is a happy memory. Her kids had gifts under the tree Christmas morning because of generous donors, and for the 20th year, Freight Center is doing "The Big Give." They'll be driving a semi-truck around next Tuesday collecting donations from Pinellas County Publix stores and their goal is to fill it up. 

"Forty thousand toys distributed to thousands of children throughout Pinellas County," Terese Kerrigan with Freight Center said. "Folks should donate new, unwrapped toys for children as young as infants, all the way up to teenagers."

Clemens said no matter how big or small, she urges residents to donate if able, and help keep kids' Christmas spirit alive.

"You never know what families are going through or what a person is going through and how something so little like that could really help them," Clemens said. 

Residents have until Monday, Dec. 18 to donate. They can drop off an unwrapped toy at any Pinellas County Publix store.