St. Petersburg, Florida -- Kids in St. Pete gathered so many toys Friday morning, even Santa's sleigh would have trouble taking off.
And Shorecrest Preparatory School is about to hand over the huge holiday haul to a wonderful cause.
Chances are you've never packed a holiday gift into a package quite as big as the gymnasium at Shorecrest Preparatory School.
Its floor was filled Friday with more than 200 collections of holiday cheer -- bags, boxes, and piles of gifts donated by the school's families.
Every present in this landscape of love is bound for a particular boy or girl, living anything but a holiday fairytale, in the state's foster care system.
"This event is really important for the nearly 3,000 children that are in foster care at this point in time because they don't have really a lot of happy days in their lives," said Susan Neville, president of the Guardian ad Litem Foundation for Pinellas and Pasco counties.
"As volunteers, we get that opportunity to at least have them have joy for one day, where they don't get to think about all the horrible things that are going on in their life."
Fourth-grader Gabriella Piper sprinted into the gym, pulling a wagon with an enormous wrapped box that stands about as tall as she does.
"There's a lot of children out there who don't have a lot of toys. And they deserve some toys because it's really hard for them," Piper said.
Neville explained how the gifts are tailored to each child. "They can just write their wish list and they actually put down what they're looking for, what they'd really like this holiday season. And then we send that to Shorecrest," she said.
Those wishes? Some are as fun as stuffed, furry friends -- and some are as basic as a bed.
The kids will get their Christmas dreams delivered by their Guardian ad Litem, members of a group of 1,200 volunteers who stand up as the only guaranteed voice for children in Florida's courts.
"When they arrive, they'll be so happy," Shorecrest student Will Palmer said. "I think that they would be really happy with a smile on their face all the time."
This year's drive is helping more than 200 children, but Shorecrest's all-time total is well over 1,000. This is the 15th year they've put together a toy drive benefiting this cause.
If you'd like to learn more about supporting or volunteering with the Guardian ad Litem program, visit the Guardian ad Litem Foundation website.
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