Campus News

UK Police ‘Cram the Cruiser’ Toy Drive Now Accepting Donations for KCH

Photo of UK Chief of Police Joe Monroe with the Ard Family at the 2020 Cram the Cruiser toy drive
UK Chief of Police Joe Monroe with the Ard family at the 2020 "Cram the Cruiser" toy drive.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 23, 2021) — The University of Kentucky Police Department’s (UKPD) fifth annual “Cram the Cruiser” toy drive is now accepting donations for patients of UK HealthCare’s Kentucky Children’s Hospital (KCH).

From now until Dec. 2, new, unwrapped toys can be dropped off at UKPD’s headquarters located on campus at the corner of Rose Street and Euclid Avenue. This year, UK Police looks forward to cramming a police cruiser full of new toys.

To decrease contact risks for donors, staff, patients and families, KCH has published a list of acceptable items by age, including toys and books for children ages infant to teen, that can be viewed and purchased directly at this link. Additionally, individuals can view more information and make monetary donations at this link.

“The 'Cram the Cruiser' toy drive is something that UK Police looks forward to every holiday season,” said UK Police Chief Joe Monroe. “Being involved in our community is an important part of our core values, and this is a wonderful opportunity to help out the children and their families who are away from their homes while hospitalized. This initiative helps to relieve the stress and burden of shopping for Christmas gifts for parents that are unable to leave the hospital. It continues to grow every year, and we invite the UK and Lexington communities to help continue bringing the smiles to the children and their families.”

For Monroe, delivering toys to Kentucky Children’s Hospital is so special because of the joy it brings to the patients and their families. Each year, Monroe trades in his police uniform for his Santa Claus suit and even wears a full gray beard.

Additionally, important community partners in the toy drive include the family of Jonathan Ard and 3M company of Cynthiana, Kentucky. Ard, who was a former Green Beret in the U.S. Army and served two tours of duty in Iraq before returning to Kentucky to work as an engineer at 3M, died of leukemia in 2016. His family and 3M employees participate in the toy drive in his honor and join UK Police to deliver the items to KCH.

For more information, contact Mandi Banahan at 859-218-2338 or mandi.banahan@uky.edu.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.