Team of ‘elves’ prepares for Big Bus Toy Express pickups on Friday

Toys for Christmas: Donors still have time to make drop offs in South Florida

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – Santa Claus sent a team of elves to decorate Local 10′s Big Bus Toy Express on Thursday in Hialeah to prepare for an annual mission to spread holiday cheer.

GySgt. Robert “Rob” Sempell, the Toys for Tots coordinator in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, celebrated his birthday Thursday with the elves outside of the warehouse in Hialeah.

U.S. Marines will be escorting the burgundy Miami Big Bus double-decker on Friday while picking up toys at four stops in Miami-Dade County and five stops in Broward County.

“We not only serve our country, but we also serve our communities,” Sempell said.

The first pickup will be at 6 a.m. in Kendall and Dunkin’ Donuts, a sponsor of the mission, will be giving free coffee and donuts to the early risers who show up with a toy. The goal is to collect enough toys so that 345 local nonprofit organizations can distribute them to children in need.

After stops in Doral, downtown Miami, Aventura, Pembroke Pines, Davie, and Sunrise, the last pickup will be at 6 p.m. in Coral Springs before the big delivery to Toys for Tots, a U.S. Marine Corps Reserve program founded in 1947. It’s a mission that the Local 10 community has been devoted to promoting since 2014 by collecting over 120,000 toys.

Here is the pick-up schedule:

  • The first stop is from 6 to 7 a.m. at the Tropical Financial Credit Union, at 10510 SW 88 St., in Kendall.
  • The second stop is from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. at Walgreens, at 9675 NW 41 St., in Doral.
  • The third stop is from 9 to 10 a.m. at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, at 1300 Biscayne Blvd., in downtown Miami.
  • The fourth stop is from 10:30 to 11 a.m., at Walgreens, at 18665 Biscayne Blvd., in Aventura.
  • The fifth stop is from 12 to 1 p.m., at the Vera Cadillac Buick GMC, at 300 South University Drive, in Pembroke Pines.
  • The sixth stop is from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., at Walgreens, at 15911 Pines Blvd., in Pembroke Pines.
  • The seventh stop is from 3 to 4 p.m., at Walgreens, at 3015 South University Drive, in Davie.
  • The eighth stop is from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., at Ikea, at 151 NW 136 Ave., in Sunrise.
  • The ninth and final stop is from 6 to 7 p.m., at the Tropical Financial Credit Union, at 8947 West Atlantic Blvd., in Coral Springs.

Afternoon reports

Big Bus Toy Express arrives

Elves start to decorate the bus

How GySgt. Robert Sempell celebrates his birthday

About the Authors:

Kristi Krueger has built a solid reputation as an award-winning medical reporter and effervescent anchor. She joined Local 10 in August 1993. After many years co-anchoring the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m., Kristi now co-anchors the noon newscasts, giving her more time in the evening with her family.

Eric Yutzy joined Local 10 News as a news anchor and reporter. He co-anchors Local 10 News on weekday mornings.