UK Happenings

UK Police Seek Donations for 'Cram the Cruiser' Holiday Toy Drive for KCH

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photo of UK Police Chief Joe Monroe dressed as Santa Claus in December 2019. He is standing by a vehcile packed with donated toys.
photo of two UK Police officers and the therapy dog in a toy aisle shopping for the Cram the Cruiser toy drive inn 2019

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 3, 2020)  The University of Kentucky Police Department is seeking donations to “Cram the Cruiser” again this holiday season. This is UKPD’s fourth annual toy drive for UK HealthCare’s Kentucky Children’s Hospital (KCH).

From now until Dec. 17, new, unwrapped toys can be dropped off at the UK Police Department Headquarters at the corner of Rose Street and Euclid Avenue on campus. UK Police hope to cram a police cruiser full of new toys. 

The KCH wish list of acceptable items by age can be viewed here: https://ukhealthcare.uky.edu/kentucky-childrens-hospital/donations/wishlist. Toys and books for children of ages infant to teen will be accepted. Items must comply with infection control and safety standards. Online giving to the KCH Child Life Department is also an option at the above link, and monetary donations can be made online as well at https://uky.networkforgood.com/causes/5413-child-life-program-gift-fund.

“This has been a tough year for everyone, and being involved in our community to help kids in the hospital who are away from their homes is something everyone at UKPD holds close to our hearts,” said UK Police Chief Joe Monroe. “The Cram the Cruiser event is a tradition for our department, and we invite the UK and Lexington communities to help make this year the most exciting one yet for the kids at KCH and their families.”

Delivering the toys to Kentucky Children's Hospital is so special for Monroe, he trades his police uniform for a full-blown Santa Claus suit. He even sports a full gray beard after participating in No Shave November fundraising.

Important community partners in the toy drive are the family of Jonathan Ard and 3M company of Cynthiana. Ard, who was a Green Beret in the U.S. Army and served two tours of duty in Iraq before returning to Kentucky and working 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.

Additionally, UK Police will donate the majority of the proceeds from their No Shave November fundraiser to the toy drive. From October until the end of January, Monroe allows exemptions from the strict professional appearance standards for a $25 per month donation toward the No Shave November fundraiser. Since UK Police started participating in No Shave November, a large portion of their fundraising proceeds have gone toward cancer research or toys for the KCH toy drive, with a secondary portion to the UKPD Scholarship Fund.

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.