Fill the Boat and brighten Christmas for Granite Shoals families

Fill the Boat toy drive

The Fill the Boat! toy drive was a huge success last year. The Granite Shoals Police Department is again hosting the event, which begins at 8 p.m. Friday, November 22. Courtesy photo

It never fails, Granite Shoals Police Chief Gary Boshears said.

At least one parent on Christmas Eve will contact a Granite Shoals Christmas Outreach leader to ask if they have anything remaining from the organization’s toy drive so their children can have something to open December 25.

That’s why the Fill the Boat! toy drive is so important to the city’s first responders, Boshears said.

It’s held each year by the police and fire departments and benefits Christmas Outreach.

“I was dealing with (a parent) last year on Christmas Eve at 1 p.m.,” he said. “The majority of what we get will go toward Christmas Outreach. But a day or two before Christmas, somebody will contact our office saying they won’t have anything for Christmas. It’s good to have stuff on hand because we get those phone calls every year. We want to take care of those families also.”

Fill the Boat! begins at 8 p.m. Friday, November 22, after the conclusion of the Christmas parade in Marble Falls to open Walkway of Lights. The Granite Shoals Police Department will have a float in the parade. You can donate through Sunday, December 22. Drop off new, unwrapped toys in the police department’s rescue boat at 410 N. Phillips Ranch Road or the Granite Shoals Fire Department’s rescue boat at 8410 RR 1431 West. Surveillance cameras will be pointed at the boats 24 hours a day to deter would-be thieves, Boshears said.

“Everything is monitored by camera, and both will be checked regularly,” he said.

Individuals making large donations, such as bicycles, should contact the police department in advance at 830-598-4818 so officers can thank them in person.

“Preferably, they can get in touch with me for a photo,” Boshears said. “We can jump on Facebook live and give them a shoutout.”

Boshears hopes people who donate bikes, skateboards, scooters, and dolls also include helmets, safety pads, and doll accessories.

During the first year, people gave so much that one empty office couldn’t hold all the toys. Officers had to put the overflow in the garage, the chief said.

Boshears said the police department will receive two to four calls on Christmas Eve from anxious parents requesting toys for their children. The ability to come through for these families and their gratitude stays with him.

“You can’t really describe it,” he said about that feeling. “It’s fantastic.”

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