KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A local pastor is holding a special toy drive in an effort to bring some holiday cheer and hope to children of murder victims and under-privileged youth in Kansas City.
The effort, titled #250Kids, is led by Pastor Timothy Hayes, who knows firsthand the impact death can have on a child.
"I've done at least 125 services in the last few years. At least 100 of those are directly homicides. Another 10 of those are suicides, many of them fathers," said Hayes, who leads 24-Hour Faith Training Center.
For the 28-year-old, his time spent with many families is during some of their worst times. He said he remembers each victim by name and saves every obituary.
But it's what happens once the funeral service is over that started a passion within Hayes, as the focus moves from the victims to the surviving children.
"I want to make sure they get Christmas this year, and not just the children of many of these homicide victims, but the brothers and sisters where the moms are still grieving and not able to work," Hayes said.
As Hayes, his members and even strangers began donating, the church sanctuary has become a Toyland.
Hayes said 250 children is the goal. He's hoping to gift each child with a brand new toy for Christmas. It's a big endeavor, and Hayes is relying on his faith in God and the community to deliver.
"If we can give a kid Christmas, then we can stop violence in the community. You won`t have to worry about going out to rob or steal or sell drugs to provide Christmas for your kids," Hayes said.
Hayes said he's selecting children of low-income families and children in foster care who will also benefit from the toy drive.
If you would like to donate towards the cause, click here. You can also drop-off new, unopened toys at the church, located at 2908 Indiana Avenue.
The Banquet and Toy giveaway will be held Dec. 7 at the Four Points by Sheraton. All children will be able to select whatever toy they want.