Firefighters seek toy donations

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Vernon - posted Mon., Dec. 3, 2012
A crew from Station 5 helps distribute the toys for last year's Toys for Tikes drive. File photo by Steve Smith.
A crew from Station 5 helps distribute the toys for last year's Toys for Tikes drive. File photo by Steve Smith.

The Vernon Volunteer Firefighters Association is gearing up for its annual Toys for Tikes event. Just before Christmas each year, the firefighters distribute toys to less-fortunate children in the local area.

The fire department's secretary, Diane Carpenter, has coordinated the event for more than two decades, and said the event has become a tradition for many of the firefighters and volunteers. “There will be more than enough volunteers helping us stuff bags and get them on the road,” she said. “It's just something that we never get tired of.”

Last year, the effort brought toys to 450 children, and Carpenter said she expects a similar number this year, as families are still registering with the Hockanum Valley Community Council. Carpenter said that as toys are being collected, there are often age groups for which donations are light, but that's mitigated by putting a call out to schools, and the toys are purchased with cash donations.

Before publicizing this year's toy drive, Carpenter said individuals and businesses were already sending donations and offers to help. As publicity starts hitting the streets, she said, there is seemingly little doubt that there will be a happy holiday for all of the children serviced.

“The generosity of the people who want to help is just really great,” Carpenter said. “The excitement is starting. We're on our way... again.”

Toys will be collected through Saturday, Dec. 15, and delivered via the fire department's vehicles and other donated trucks on Dec. 17, after an impressive, volunteer-run sorting process that temporarily turns the Nye Street Fire Station into something resembling Santa's North Pole distribution center.

New, unwrapped toys can be dropped off at any of the following locations: Animal City - 35 Talcottville Road, Court House Plus - 47 Hartford Turnpike, Crystal Blueprint – West Main Street, Fancy Feet Pet Grooming - 593 Talcottville Road, First Niagara Bank - 348 Hartford Turnpike, Jumpin’ Jonnies – 234 Talcottville Road, Larry’s Sales/Repair – 260 Talcottville Road, Rein’s  Deli/Restaurant – 435 Hartford Turnpike, Rockville Bank - Lafayette Branch - Hyde Avenue, Suburban Subaru - Route 83, Vernon Police Station - Rt. 30 & West Road, Vernon Public Safety & Ambulance Complex - 280 West Road, and the Vernon Town Hall on Park Street in Rockville.

Financial donations can be sent to: Vernon Volunteer Firefighters Association, Inc., P.O. Box 951, Vernon, CT 06066.

Questions may be directed to the Vernon Fire Safety Complex at 860-871-7468 – Option 2.

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