By Brian Sherman for The Island Eye News
More than 200 Lowcountry children received bicycles for Christmas this year, thanks to the efforts of the Sullivan’s Island Police Department. During a brief ceremony in front of Town Hall Dec. 20, representatives of the Department handed over 217 bikes to Toys for Tots, a program launched by the U.S. Marine Corps in 1947 to provide “a tangible sign of hope to economically disadvantaged children at Christmas.” Since then, Toys for Tots has distributed 604 million toys to 272 million children nationwide. The SIPD was an active participant in the program for the first time in 2021.
According to Officer Glenn Meadows, who has been with the Department only since August, his wife came up with the idea, and “it was a no-brainer, so we ran with it.” Meadows said the campaign, launched the week before Thanksgiving, was a team effort of the island’s entire law enforcement community. Using social media, including its Facebook page, the Department was able to attract donations of bicycles from island residents and businesses, visitors and the town’s employees. “This is community policing at its core,” Meadows said. “It’s building relationships with the community. That’s why we did this.” The Marine Corps was represented at the ceremony by Cpl. Adrian Smith, who said that “kids who get a bike really light up. It’s so heartwarming.” Hayes Moving contributed to the effort by volunteering the use of one of its trucks to transport the bicycles to North Charleston so they could be distributed to area children. “The Department set the goal of 200 bicycles, and I am proud to let you know that officers have eclipsed that number,” Town Administrator Andy Benke said. “Many residents and employees stepped forward with contributions in order to reach the goal. This is a tremendous accomplishment for a small town and department.”
Meadows, who has been in law enforcement since 1982, said the Department has higher aspirations for the second annual campaign in 2022.
“Let’s say 300 right now,” he predicted.