Time-stamped 2:43 p.m. on Dec. 9, 2016.
Printed at Target on Fording Island Road in Bluffton.
Given to John McCann, who lives alone in an apartment off Bluffton Parkway, and who usually doesn’t purchase cosmetics.
Never miss a local story.
Or My Little Pony.
And McCann usually doesn’t buy, in a single trip, hundreds — 104 unique product codes, many denoting multiple purchases — of items.
Or enter the checkout line with a caravan of three shopping carts.
Or generally spend more than 10 minutes in Target.
But it’s the holiday season. And it’s for a good cause: the third edition of Bluffton Police Department’s annual toy drive. It, the receipt, is $1,330.10 worth of treats and toys for kids in need.
McCann learned of the toy drive through Facebook, he said as he sat in a brown leather chair on a December day in 2016. He’d pushed up his glasses so they rested atop his bald head. The receipt, which he had to fetch from a file at the request of a reporter, rested on the nearby ottoman.
It was folded up, several times over, and when it was later unfurled, it spanned almost the entire length of the living room’s small coffee table.
All told, the receipt is 3 feet, 7 inches long, a ribbon of proof of McCann’s respect for law enforcement officers.
Before he moved to the Lowcountry, McCann supported charity golf tournaments in New Jersey organized by various Police Benevolent Associations. Two small, dusty plaques, nearly hidden behind family pictures and sports memorabilia on a small shelf, sported the associations’ logos.
After he learned of the toy drive he contacted Bluffton Police Department spokesperson Joy Nelson and asked her to help him shop — he didn’t know what to buy. His own son is grown, serving in the U.S. Navy, stationed in California.
“Typically we wouldn’t go shopping with someone,” Nelson said. “But since John had helped the department before, and was willing to spend so much money, I was more than happy to go with him.”
During the summer, McCann bought lunch for some of Bluffton’s finest.
“Jimmy John’s,” he said, adding he spent more money on sandwiches from that restaurant than he did at Target.
He didn’t know any of the officers at the time, but he felt like they had “a weight on their shoulders” from the public scrutiny of police work stemming from events in Ferguson, Mo., and other places across the country. He wanted to do something to show his appreciation.
Months later, he contacted Nelson about the toy drive and said he wanted to spend $500 to $1,000. She and her 12-year-old daughter, Kylie, met McCann at Target, and the trio shopped for about an hour and a half.
They didn’t keep a running tally of the cost as they filled the carts, he said. Nelson offered to do so, but McCann said not to bother. It was a “grab-and-go,” in his words.
“I’m sure me and Joy would have been fine,” he said, explaining he didn’t know Kylie was coming. “But having a 12-year old — bang!” he said, snapping his fingers. “She was impressive.”
The toy drive, now in its third year, was started by Officer Lauren Brown, Nelson said. Brown, now a school resource officer at McCracken Middle School, partners with Officer Carissa Garnes to direct the project. They wrap and deliver the toys, Nelson said, and with the help of the schools they determine the children most in need.
“It’s hard to say how many toys are donated, but I would say thousands of dollars’ worth,” Nelson said. In addition to McCann, this year’s big donors, so far, are the Sun City Car Club and the Lowcountry Law Enforcement Officers Association. And several community members have volunteered to help wrap gifts.
At Target, in the checkout line, McCann applied for a store credit card so he could save a couple hundred dollars on his purchases. The line was shut down to accommodate all the toys, and a nearby customer might have sighed or rolled his eyes at the sight.
And when it was all over, McCann had his receipt.
He filed it at home, in a folder he keeps for his taxes.
He did not post a picture of it on Facebook.
A few days later the Bluffton Police Department did, sharing a photo of him and three toy-laden shopping carts in front of Target.
Hundreds of people liked it.
A couple dozen of them thanked him.
And the Nelson family invited him over for Christmas dinner.
Want to help?
What: Bluffton Police Department Toy Drive
When: Friday, Dec. 16, is the cutoff date for donations.
How: Area residents can bring unwrapped toys, jackets, hats and gloves for children aged up to 14 to the department’s law enforcement center at 101 Progressive Street/Buckwalter Place, or Bluffton Town Hall at 20 Bridge Street.