More than a dozen helicopters loaded with toys for sick children landed on the roof of Children's of Alabama hospital Thursday afternoon as part of a special holiday operation.
Jolly Old Saint Nicholas himself was on-site to help bring in bags of donated toys for Operation Fly Toys. The toys will be given to Children's Sugar Plum Shop, a store specifically for families with children who have to be in the hospital during the holidays. Parents can shop at the store free-of-charge, thanks to the toys donations.
The 16 helicopters began landing on the hospital's roof around 2 p.m. Children staying in the hospital were able to view the helicopters' as they approached the building from one side and departed from another.
SLIDESHOW: Helicopter toy drop at Children's of Alabama
"We wanted to do something in the law enforcement community to make a difference in the lives of these children and to get their minds off their medical problems," Tim McDonald, Chief Deputy and Chief Pilot of the Dale County Sheriff's Office, said in a release.
"We thought the toy fly-in would not only give the kids something to remember, but it will also give the pilots and everyone involved something to remember, too," McDonald added.
The law enforcement agencies that participated in Operation Fly Toys included the sheriff's departments of Coffee, Morgan, Limestone, Etowah, Marshall, Dale/Houston, Jefferson, Russell, Tuscaloosa and Chilton counties, Tuscaloosa Police Department, Cullman City Police, Hoover Police and Alabama State Troopers. Others were expected to be added.
Anyone wishing to donate kids' toys to the Sugar Plum Shop can drop them off at the hospital through December 17. Children's of Alabama has a list of suggested donations for patients here. The hospital says they are in need of more gifts for teenage patients, such as gift cards, DVDs and video games. They can also use donated gift wrap materials.
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