Palm Coast Toy Drive: A View from Both Sides of the Toy Bin

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The holiday season is a time that inspires many to give back to their communities, and that rings true for City Electric Supply (CES) Outside Sales Rep. Michael Eaton in a very personal way.

In the past, Eaton and his family have gotten involved in The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) toy programs by contributing toys or monetary donations. This year, he took his efforts even further and put a bin inside CES Palm Coast for a toy drive. The response he received from customers and friends who wanted to help was greater than he could have imagined.

FCSO toy programs

The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office holds toy programs each holiday season to help children in need. Over 15 years ago, Shop with a Cop was founded to ensure eight children received toys for Christmas, and the event has grown tremendously since — reaching 143 children last year.

“Every year, children are nominated for the program by our deputies; usually, we have met these children and see a need in the home,” said Division Chief of FCSO David Williams. “Our deputies make arrangements to pick up the kids, we play games and have fun activities at the Operations Center, and then they get to ride in a large caravan of patrol cars to go shopping.”

As the years have passed, Shop with a Cop has evolved, not only in size but also in spectacle. This year, the event featured a dramatic entrance from the one and only Santa Claus flying in via a helicopter provided by Dan Newlin Injury Attorneys!

Getting involved

For Eaton, the toy drive is more than a good deed — it has a very personal significance. One of the many factors that inspired his participation is his memory of being on the other side of a toy drive.

“Events like these helped me a lot when I was younger. Someone gifted me my first bicycle through a toy drive. I still remember what that felt like, and it brings back memories,” said Eaton. “My family and I get involved with the FCSO toy drive each year. It’s something we truly believe in.”

This is the first time Eaton has extended his toy drive involvement to include CES. Seeing a spark of generosity in his customers, he decided to place a toy bin inside CES Palm Coast as a convenient way to donate. Team members and CES Cares (the company’s social outreach division) jumped in, helping to decorate the bin and encouraging customers to participate this holiday season.

An outpouring of support

The response from others in the branch was immediate, with one customer donating a brand-new bicycle.

“How could I not donate? It’s for a great cause, and it’s for the kids. CES Palm Coast is made up of great people, so it’s awesome to get involved and help out in this way,” said Misha Romanovskiy of North Star Electric.

Not only did CES customers pitch in enthusiastically, but community members heard about his efforts and asked what they could do to help. Responses came from all over, stretching beyond the boundaries of CES Palm Coast — making the community impact come full circle.

“Every Sunday, my family goes out to eat at the same restaurant, and our server brought me a bag full of toys and games to put into the bin,” said Eaton with a smile. “It’s so great to see others want to contribute.” 

Shop with a Cop helped over 130 children receive Christmas presents this holiday season.

“Seeing kids receive their gifts is truly one of the best feelings. When I see them running around showing everyone their cool new toy, I remember what that feels like. Knowing I had a part in their experience — it’s the greatest feeling,” said Eaton.

“We certainly appreciate local businesses getting involved. It’s a great program, and when the community helps, it allows us to reach even more kids,” said Chief Williams. “Thank you to City Electric Supply, Mike, and their customers for all they did to contribute to the program this season.”

To contribute to next year’s Shop with a Cop event, email

Saying thanks

After a successful toy drive, CES wants to thank its customers and branch teams for spreading holiday cheer in Flagler County and beyond.

“I’m so grateful that Mike reached out to CES Cares. His passion for this project was evident from the beginning, and he has done a great job collecting toys. Knowing how much a toy drive impacted him and now desiring to be on the other side of it is so touching to hear about. His passion to give back to the community that gave to him is so beautiful,” said Karen Gray, CES Cares social impact manager.

“CES Palm Coast has amazing customers. It’s people like them that make this community better and stronger, and it shows what kinds of hearts our customers have. I can’t thank them enough for their help with our first toy drive this holiday season,” said Eaton.

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