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Panhandle Spirit: Toy drive for CPS kids

Collecting toys for kids in the CPS system during Amarillo's Electric Light Parade(ABC7 Amarillo)

The big Electric Light Parade will wind through downtown Amarillo Friday night, but it's more than a chance to bring out the family and see the fabulous floats.

You can also get in the giving spirit.

There's nothing like watching a child's reaction to the sights and sounds of a Christmas parade--except maybe their reaction to the sight of presents under the tree Christmas morning. That's why we're hoping you'll bring a toy to the parade so we can pass it on to the hundreds of children in child protective services in Potter and Randall counties.

"Anytime you have to deal with Child Protective Services, it can be a traumatic experience. And around the holidays, this could actually be the first time a child could have a happy Christmas memory, and we try to provide that as much as we can," said Rebecca Robinson, Foster and Adoptive Development Supervisor for Child Protective Services.

Robinson says while this roomful of toys looks like a lot, it's just a fraction of what's needed to take the stress away from relatives who've often been thrust into the role of caregiver,

"A lot of times the relatives that we do work with are on a fixed income so they can't always provide as marvelous a Christmas as what they had when they were little," Robinson said.

If you're not going to the parade, you can still bring the toys to the station, it will be the best present you give this year in the Panhandle Spirit.

"Christmas is actually a time of year that a case worker can play Santa Claus to a family, and really brighten some spirits."

If the timeline is too tight to buy presents and get them to the parade, you can still bring them to the station or CPS later. They will collect toys up until the Friday before Christmas.

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