LETHBRIDGE -- Most drivers don’t like going through police checkstops, but the one set up by Lethbridge Police Service Saturday at the Enmax centre was a little more welcoming.

The Police Association and Lethbridge Police Service partnered up to host the first annual Charity Checkstop at the Enmax Centre Parking lot. Officers and other volunteers collected unwrapped toys, monetary donations and non-perishable food items.

“The Lethbridge Police Service is pleased to have an opportunity to have a positive interaction with the public while helping support those in need,” said LPS Const. Stewart Kambeitz.

Those toys are going towards the Lethbridge Family Services Angel Tree campaign. The campaign is hoping to provide 3,000 children in need with gift bundles. LPS officers set a goal to collect 1,000 toys.

“The turnout has been overwhelming. Way beyond our wildest expectations,” said LPS Chief Shahin Mahdizadeh. “To show that generosity that the community is showing for those that are in more need is quite something to see.”

Lethbridge Family Services believes the demand for gifts this year will be greater than in years past due to the financial hardship of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This has been a crazy few months and we just want to give back as much as possible,” said Sara Harker, who donated toys.

Other people who donated also realizing the financial hardship some are living with this holiday season.

”Been a really hard year for a lot of people. Just really important for us to just find that time to still donate and to think about those that are less fortunate,” said Courtney Barks, another donor.

Those still wanting to donate to help a child receive a gift bundle this Christmas can head to Lethbridge Family Services, located at 1107 Second Ave. North. Volunteers accept new unwrapped toys and money.