'Stuff a Cruiser' precedes town holiday celebration
By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Chaplin - posted Tue., Dec. 10, 2013
By mid-afternoon on Dec. 7, Chaplin Resident State Trooper Paul Black had successfully stuffed his cruiser with toys destined for the Tommy Toy Fund. The "Stuff a Cruiser" event, held annually in front of the town fire house, traditionally kicks off an evening of holiday activities.
“This is the 13th year of doing this for me,” said Black, adding that the event has been going on for approximately 16 years in total. The event typically generates hundreds of toys. “I think we generally collect more than 300,” said Black. Donations are distributed to children in need in the Windham area.
“We’re very thankful to the community for their generosity,” said resident Ralph Simoneau, who has been involved with the toy drive from the beginning.
Activities planned for the evening celebration included performances by the Parish Hill High School and middle school choirs, a performance by the high school jazz band, and a tree-lighting culminating with the arrival of Santa Claus. There would be crafts for children, and local Boy Scouts were scheduled to provide refreshments.
The town Christmas tree, planted several years ago by members of the community, has grown significantly over the years. Measuring just a few feet when it was installed, the tree now measures well over 10 feet tall.
“The tree and the celebration have really grown a lot,” said resident Joe Pinto. Pinto got involved in procuring the tree and arranging the accompanying celebration after his wife pushed for a community celebration around the holidays.