Richland EMS toy drive rolling

Continuing an annual holiday tradition, Richland County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) is putting out a call for residents to help “Stuff an Ambulance” with toys, clothing and other items for disadvantaged children.

This marks the fourth year for EMS’s toy drive, and the third year the effort will benefit Richland County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). The national award-winning advocacy program trains volunteers to help children who have entered the court and welfare systems.

“Although Richland County EMS is on the front lines making sacrifices daily for our community, they decided to help one of our nation’s most vulnerable populations: abused and neglected children. That’s my definition of a superhero,” said Dante Roberts, executive director for CASA.

EMS will accept donations of many children’s items, including:

• Toys
• Books
• Blankets
• Socks and other clothing
• Bookbags
• Hair products
• Children’s eating utensils
• Gift cards

Residents can drop off their new, unwrapped donations from 8:30 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday at Richland County EMS headquarters, 1410 Laurens Street, Columbia. The headquarters is adjacent to the surface parking lot behind the main County Administration Building.

Those who cannot drop off donations should contact EMS Capt. Winta Adams at 803-576-3409 or adams.winta@richlandcountysc.gov to arrange for pickup. Items can be dropped off or picked up through December 3.

The 2019 toy drive collected enough items to fill the County’s EMS bus and two ambulances, benefitting more than 1,800 children. This year, EMS aims to reach more than 1,700 kids with donations.

“We understand that COVID-19 has altered many people’s lives this year,” Adams said. “We are grateful for the donations that employees and the community are able to make and view it as a blessing to have the participation again this year.”

For more information about Stuff an Ambulance call 803-576-3409.