Local mom sets up ‘Fire Truck of Giving’ to collect toys for needy families

Joan Thompson collects toys in her front yard for needy families.

WILMINGTON ISLAND, Ga. (WSAV) – A family on Wilmington Island is giving back in a unique way this holiday season.

They set up a fire truck Christmas display in their front yard that doubles as a toy collection box.

Joan Thompson says she was looking for a more direct way to donate her daughter’s old toys, so she put them out in her front yard not knowing her neighbors would want to help, too.

People started calling it the “Fire Truck of Giving” — and the name stuck.

At night, the fire truck plays music and lights up. It started as a fun twist on Christmas decor with a teddy bear at its helm. Thompson said she poses the “fire bear” a different way every day.

Her husband, a firefighter, inspired the display’s theme.

“The fire truck use to be a bunk bed and we made it a Christmas decoration,” said Thompson.”I started putting toys out that my kids don’t play with and around this time people are always looking for toys for their kids because some can’t afford it.”

Thompson spread the word on social media hoping to reach those people in need.

“It became a lot bigger than I expected because people saw me posting it and one person asked if they could put stuff,” said Thompson. “They put things there, I shared it again to let them know thanks too…because I always let them know who dropped off stuff.”

Thompson said some neighbors drop off donations and others drop by just for a photo op.

“If you walk on my yard and go on the fire truck — I do not mind,” said Thomspon playfully. “It was built so kids can go on top.”

With three children of her own, Thompson is busy this time of year, but she always finds time to give.

“I am able to feed my kids, I am able to get them toys and it may not be the fanciest of toys but there are some people that are less fortunate who really struggle to even get one thing for their kid,” said Thompson. “So it’s just one little toy for their kid, so it makes a whole Christmas so much better.”

Thompson plans to keep the collection box up until the new year. She said the Truck of Giving is definitely her family’s new favorite holiday tradition.

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