For 14 years ABC2 has been proud to support photographer Pete O’Neal with the “It’s Kindertime Toy Drive”.
While many of our generous ABC2 viewers have donated to the toy drive, allowing us to give tens of thousands of children toys over the years, many don’t know the story behind why it all began. This is that story.
The “It’s Kindertime Toy Drive” was started by ABC2 Photojournalist Pete O’Neal. Pete has been a member of the ABC2 News team for 28 years. As a photographer he chased many breaking news stories, seeing many crime scenes.
He was at work one night in 1993 when all those crimes he covered, became his reality, his mother, Jeromia was found murdered.
Pete talks about that night, “It’s estimated I covered 1800 homicides by the time my mother was murdered. I remember the number in 1993 my mother was 69 for the year. When that happened I was working and I couldn’t reach her. I went to the house and had an officer meet me there. When we got there we found her on the floor. All the homicides I had covered I had this competitive nature, I didn’t think about the pain people were going through, until this happened to my mom. The 10 years of homicides I covered flashed before my eyes at that moment.”
His mother’s case grew cold and while police officers worked the case Pete decided to work to paint a better picture for city youth. He started with a children’s show, “It’s Kindertime” and moved on to the ABC2 Kindertime Toy Drive.
In this 14th year the toy drive has grown with support from Celebree Learning, WalMart, Baltimore County Fire Stations and State Police.
Each year the toy drive is dedicated to fallen heroes. In 2012 there are 8 heroes that will be remembered with our efforts to collect and spread joy to children around the area. We asked Pete how his mother’s murder turned into a mission to help children in need, “I wanted to paint a different picture for city children, that there were different paths they could take. Show them there is another world out there for them.”
From now until December 19th you can drop off new, unwrapped toys at the following locations:
Baltimore County Firehouses
Maryland State Police
WalMart: Dundalk, White Marsh, Towson, Severn, Columbia, Arundel Mills,
Laurel, Catonsville, Glen Burnie, Ellicott City, Port Covington, Aberdeen, Fallston, Abingdon, Owings Mills, Denton, Randallstown, Cockeysville, Carroll Island and Arbutus.
Celebree Learning Centers: all 20 locations
Watch ABC2 News at 5 and 6pm on December 20, 2012 as area officers arrive at ABC2 to pick up toys and deliver them to children in need throughout the area. And we are serious when we say throughout the area.
These toys will be given to children at the Ronald McDonald House and Kennedy Krieger as well as children in need on the Eastern Shore, Baltimore City and in Baltimore, Carroll, Cecil, Harford, Howard, and Anne Arundel Counties.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.