Spread the joy by donating a gift for Santa’s Toy Box this season

By Kitty LeShay - ReminderNews
Stafford - posted Fri., Dec. 6, 2013
The crew from Santa’s Toy Box collected gifts in the center of Stafford last year. Courtesy photo. - Contributed Photo

Santa’s Toy Box is back for another holiday season and is asking people to open their hearts and make a donation at one of the many locations around Stafford. The donations can be in the form of gift cards, toys or clothes, and should be delivered unwrapped. Collections began just after Thanksgiving.

Institutions have drop-off boxes or Angel Trees at: The Styling Barn, First Niagara Bank, Stafford Public Library, Mallard’s Nest, all branches of the Stafford Savings Bank, Workers Federal Credit Union and Stafford Elementary School.

For donors wishing to partake in a bit of holiday cheer, the annual “Stuff a Bus” will be held on Saturday, Dec. 7, between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Donors are asked to bring their unwrapped gifts to the Town Hall lot. Businesses donate refreshments like coffee and doughnuts, and Frito Lay will be giving chips to everyone. “Goofy is dressed as Santa and the Grinches will be there. It is a happy, festive event,” said Betty Martorelli, an event organizer.

“There will be two new costumes this year that the kids will love, and we will also have a money-collection stocking at the stop sign by the post office. We hope lots of people come out," Stacey Tilki said. She and her mom are the primary organizers of Santa’s Toy Box.

Martorelli’s husband started the forerunner of Santa’s Toy Box in 1974, when, as a firefighter, he morphed into Santa and delivered toys around town on the fire truck. “We started a Ladies Auxiliary and have been handing out toys since,” Martorelli said. “We have been doing this for a long time and it is a successful and efficient operation,” she added.

Gifts will be available for children up to 12 years old. Parents may specify the gender and interest of their child, so an appropriate gift can be selected. A family wishing to participate in the community’s generous gift-giving event may contact Betty Martorelli at 860-684-2363, Family Services of Stafford, and ask for Laura at 860-684-3906, or Stacy Tilki at 860-684-1501. Names of families receiving gifts are kept strictly confidential.

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