ANKENY, Iowa — Christmas and the holiday season are a time for giving, and the Ankeny Fire Department inspired people in the city to give brand new toys to the children who need it most.

The fire department hosted a toy drive benefitting the United States Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots at Ankeny Fire Station #1 on Sunday. The toy drive took its name literally this year; it was a drive-thru event in which firefighters unloaded donations from cars.

“That’s what it’s all about. That’s the Christmas spirit. It’s giving to someone less fortunate in a needy time,” said Ankeny firefighter Mark Amman, who also achieved the rank of gunnery sergeant in the Marines. “We’re here for the public. We’re just here to help out.”

Ankeny’s fire department has hosted a Toys for Tots drive every year for the past two decades, and some Ankeny residents circle the drive on their proverbial calendar.

“We love to give back. There’s a lot of kids that don’t have things for Christmas,” said Tim Hesseltine, who said he bought hundreds of dollars worth of toys to donate. “All of our kids are grown, so this is all for the toddlers.”

The toy drive typically collects about a thousand new toys a year. Amman said it was particularly heartwarming when children dropped of the donations.

“To see a child give a gift to another child is huge,” Amman said. “Words can’t describe it.”

The Ankeny Fire Department is still collecting Toys for Tots donations at all of its fire stations until Friday, December 16. All toys must be new in their box and unwrapped.