1st Sunday of December Every Year!
A 501c3 EIN 32-0131486 and Registered Florida Non-Profit Organization Event Coordinators: Bill and Sheri Brown
This Event Benefits: "Forgotten" Children - Special Needs Individuals and Local Community Charities in Eastern Hillsborough County
The Down Home Make You Feel Good All Over Cookson Hills Toy Run was established in honor of our country’s Armed Services Personnel, Police, Sheriff, Highway Patrol Officers and Firepersons who have given some or all of themselves to protect the Freedoms, Lives and Liberties of those living in our world: “May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be ever at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face and the rain fall softly on your fields. May God hold you in the hollow of his hand. May God watch over you and keep you in his Grace.”
In 1993, we discovered a “need” in our community. With some friends, we organized our first Cookson Hills Toy Run for the “Forgotten” children who would not have Merry Christmas Memories, at Cookson Hills Christian Ministries Children’s Home. There were 18-children. It was a huge success and as the event grew, special need individuals were included to enjoy the picnic and gifting. You, who attended, were witness to many miracles. In 2008, we moved to a beautiful county park, Evans Park on Kingsway Rd in Seffner, with plenty of big shade oak trees and room to grow.
Those who came discovered the delight of seeing where their presents went instead of dropping them in a box. YOU present the gifts directly to the “Forgotten” that are invited, becoming a part of their lives, experiencing the joy and happiness when your Christmas presents are opened while you watch. Children (newborn to 18-yrs-still in high school) living with single parents, grandparents and struggling families; special need individuals (of all ages-many abandoned by family) along with seniors and veterans are invited, who need to know there are those who care bringing them Merry Christmas Memories. Imagine watching a child, special need individual, senior or veteran opening a present and experiencing their excitement and happiness. YOU created this. They also enjoy a free BBQ picnic, drinks and other entertainment. The toy run doesn’t end there, by Christmas Day over 600 have received a Merry Christmas. In the past 19 years, over 6000 individuals have been given Merry Christmas Memories.
Veteran’s Memorial Park on Hwy 301 south of the FL State Fairgrounds and I-4, Tampa, has been the “staging” area since the beginning on the first Sunday of December. At 10:00 AM, those bringing gifts to pass out to the “Forgotten” begin to gather. With a live fast-pasted auction full of unique items and raffles, raffle ticket sales and breakfast munchies donated by Bob Evans Restaurants there’s plenty of entertainment. At 1:00 PM, those who wish travel a 20-mile “country” ride or go directly to the “main” event location at Evans Park, 1104 N. Kingsway Rd, Seffner, FL.
The “MAIN” event begins at 1:00 PM. When you arrive enjoy a GREAT BBQ with “Chef Richard”, enjoying your choice of Ribs, (courtesy of Richard, owner of Buccaneer Sheet Metal Fabricators), Pulled Chicken (Hungry Harry’s BBQ), Burgers (Longhorn Steak House), Hot Dogs or Veggie Burgers and sides along with FREE Cotton Candy from the Egypt Temple Shriner’s Motorcycle Riders. Enjoy the Samoyed Dog Club’s Sleigh Rides, live DJ music and of course Santa and Mrs Santa rounding out the entertainment while final touches are made for the greatest experience you will have during the Christmas Season. At 2:30 the excitement begins as YOU pass out all the gifts donated. Then there’s an explosion of laughter, happy tears, joyous screams and plenty of “THANK YOU’S” surrounding you when the presents are opened creating your own Merry Christmas memories.
The 20-year legacy is in danger of becoming a memory. In 19 years, only the 2011 event paid for itself. Bill and Sheri Brown personally have been paying the outstanding balances throughout all these years (2012 equaled almost $5000). This event is not funded by any BIG “Corporate” financier. YOU, Local Small businesses, the auction, raffles and BBQ hopefully pay the expenses. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been enough to cover the $15000 costs of the event. With over $9000 spent on specialized gifts for the special need individuals, seniors and veterans (which have more than doubled) and the balance going to insurance, licenses, advertising, food, drinks, auction and raffle items, legal fees, etc, they have reached a point where they no longer have the ability to continue paying for the event. This event desperately needs your financial generosity to continue.
Instead of dropping your gifts in a box never to see or hear of them again, join The Down Home Make You Feel Good All Over Cookson Hills Toy Run's 20th year quest. If you’ve never been to a toy run, or even if you have, you will never experience the magic of the true spirit of Christmas adding to your family’s holiday season and beyond.
Donations can be made through the PayPal account on the web site and will be extremely appreciated. The toy run is a 501c3 tax deductible charity. No one receives a salary, 100% of your donation goes to the cost of the event. If anyone wants to see the financial data, the information will happily be provided. Volunteers are also needed; teenagers needing community service time, Boy/Girl Scouts and anyone interested in helping to make this event succeed. If you can help with other event necessities it would be extremely appreciated. Please contact Sheri at 813-643-5758 / E-mail: Cooksontoyrun@aol.com, web site: www.cooksontoyrun.com .
We look forward to you, your family and friends joining the “Best Kept Secret in Hillsborough County” and our quest to bring Merry Christmas Memories to those “Forgotten” in this Holiday Season.
God Bless –