911 Toy Drive
Working to Improve the Lives of Children and Law Enforcement Officers
History of W. Steven Martin’s Police Toy Drive & Memorials
For as long as Phoenix radio personality W. Steven Martin can remember, Christmas time always has meant hundreds of requests for help from listeners of his radio program. In 1989, an unwieldy process of trying to grant the Christmas wishes of hundreds of needy families became manageable when local law enforcement officers were enlisted to distribute toys to children in need and at-risk families around Phoenix and the Valley of the Sun.
Toys were stockpiled in the garage, and police officers from agencies around the Valley stopped by to select gifts for children and adolescents from families in neighborhoods the officers knew well. The thought was that by allowing these young people to see the police in a new light, one of giving and caring, that bonds would be formed between law enforcement and the tiniest victims of crime and poverty, thus helping to break the cycle of hate and fear that seemed to exist.