“It’s seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces, that’s my Christmas gift.”

LaDaye “Cooley” Johnson grew up in Wilmington. A child of a single mother, he credits his neighborhood for steering him in the right direction. In college Cooley realized he wanted to give back to those who helped get him there.

In an effort to help kids throughout Wilmington, LaDaye started the nonprofit Cool Shoes, Inc an initiative that helps bring summer camps, runs fundraisers, and drives for the local community. From backpack drives in August to Thanksgiving Turkey drives and Christmas Toy Drives, LaDaye is a vital member of the community.

Last year, 2,000 people lined up to pick out board games, toys, and stuffed animals for loved ones. This year has grown to 10,000 donated items that come from Wilmington businesses, neighbors and Johnson himself. This year, former Police Lieutenant Dan Selekman started to work with Cooley on his drive.

Is Your Family In Need?

This year’s drive takes place on 2 pm Christmas Eve. The event will be in the parking lot of Christian Growth Ministries’ 850 N. Church St.

Summarised from the article “Toy giveaway: More than 10,000 toys to be handed out in Wilmington” on Delaware Online.

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