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2016 Leesburg Toy Drive for Leesburg Police
Beacon College students, staffers, and Leesburg Police personnel show off toy drive haul.

With the cost to do business in a globalized world ever increasing, even Santa Claus outsources. 

Fortunately, the jolly ol’ elf found willing workers in Leesburg on the campus of Beacon College.

For about a week, Greek-letter groups Lambda Epsilon Omega and Xi Kappa Xi, the residence life team and other staffers were busy elves gathering goodies for a joint operation with the Leesburg Police Department. The objective: ensure needy kids who might lack even a Christmas tree could find a present with their names on it Christmas morning.

Gavin Palmer, director of student activities at Beacon College, the first institution of higher learning accredited to award bachelor’s degrees primarily to students who learn differently, set up toy collection boxes at the campus library and Student Center.

In a week’s time, the drive netted 51 toys and sporting goods for suited for toddlers to teens whose names aren’t scrawled on Santa’s naughty list. In another grand gesture, the residence life staffers abandoned their traditional gift exchange and used the money they would have spent on trinkets on three bicycles.

On Friday, residence life team members — Heather Reed and Rashad Joiner —  and Carrie Santaw, director of housing  joined other Beacon students and staffers in delivering the haul to the Leesburg Police Department.

While Lambda Epsilon Omega previously has staged toy drives, this was the first time the school’s Greek organizations collaborated with law enforcement. Leesburg Police Sgt. Kim Stewart, who is assigned to crime prevention and code enforcement, but who works with area schools to aid needy children, helped make a list with sugarplum wishes from area children that she and other police personnel (probably) check twice to ensure they wrap the gifts accordingly. The department then delivers the gifts to area children days before Christmas.

Still, Palmer says, it’s the students and staffers who receive the biggest gift of all.

“Providing our students with an opportunity to give back to the community is truly a rewarding experience,” Palmer said. “The students were very eager to help in providing local children with a magical holiday season. This toy drive proves just how much our students love being a part of the Leesburg community.”