ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. (WDRB) -- A little baby could not help but smile at Hardin County Jailer Danny Allen, who turned into a warm, fuzzy teddy bear around her -- talking in a baby voice and dancing a toy in her face.

Allen may run a jail, but when it comes to kids, he melts.

Some children will be spending Christmas without their mom or dad this year at the Hardin County jail, but a toy drive Allen initiated is brightening those kids' visit.

"The reason we're doing this is for the kids," said Allen. "All the effort we put forward, all my employees and myself, the response from the community, it's well worth it when you see the smiles on those little faces."

For children, it can be upsetting visiting mom or dad in jail.

"When you see that little one walk out that front door crying, it's something you never get used to," said Allen.

"Sometimes it's hard, you can't leave holding his hand, or saying bye to him, and not coming home to him at night time," said 16-year-old Kierrea Stone, who was visiting her father with her mom and sister.

They see him about once a month. But Monday's visit came with a surprise, as Allen gave the girls their gifts.

Their faces lit up as they opened up bags that included jewelry, McDonald's gift cards, socks and hot chocolate.

It is exactly the reason Allen started the toy drive. He says the children should not have to suffer from their parents' mistakes.

For the parents who are locked up, they toy drive means even more. Some minimum security inmates get to hand over the gifts themselves. Tyron Hill says the visitation time was joyful.

"Oh they loved it, you got some guys with 4 or 5 kids, it was like Christmas morning it was nice, it was really nice," said Hill.

The community really pulled through for the Hardin County Jail's first ever toy drive. More than than 2,000 toys were donated, and more than $3,000 was given. That all means close to 500 bags will be handed out to inmates' kids.

The kids of one inmate live in Michigan, but they won't be left out, the Hardin County Jail got so many donations that they have enough cash to mail those gifts. 

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