COVID Can’t Stop Christmas

COVID Can't Stop Christmas

November 19, 2020

Harry and Bonita Williams
Retired Educators of St. Lucie County President Harry Williams and his wife, Bonita Williams, deliver the first load of Christmas packages to CCKids.

By Christina Kaiser, CCKids' Community Relations Director

St. Lucie West -

It was a little dicey at first, but Communities Connected for Kids' annual Christmas toy drive is on track for a record year of paper, packages and perennial smiles.

The first load of gifts arrived to the CCKids St. Lucie West offices Tuesday, delivered by Santa's Elves Harry and Bonita Williams. The Williamses represent the Retired Educators of St. Lucie County, one of dozens of local community groups organizing gift drives for children in local foster care and protective services.

The Retired Educators always kick off the season for CCKids, the organization that oversees child-welfare services in Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee and St. Lucie counties. They coordinate early and usually bring their gifts to the group's November meeting.

Ms. Williams said they were unsure how the project would work this year because all their group meetings still are attended remotely. But they identified a few physical locations and scheduled times for members to bring their toys. In the end, she said, it seemed a little easier.

Gift collection begins in earnest December 7, when CCKids - together with partner agency Guardians for New Futures - begins collecting from businesses, churches and community groups throughout the four counties. Much of that work is possible thanks to Rytech Treasure Coast, the mold remediation company that lends its trucks and drivers to the project.

It's an intensive labor of love, and there is no possible way that CCKids could do this without the Guardians or Rytech -- or any of the groups coordinating drives on our behalf.

If you are interested in learning more about the gift drive, including how to get involved, email

Contact: Christina Kaiser