Jewett City Fire Department toy drive donations fall short

By Janice Steinhagen - Staff Writer
Jewett City - posted Mon., Dec. 16, 2013
A fire department volunteer collects money donations from passing cars on Main Street in Jewett City. Photos by Janice Steinhagen.
A fire department volunteer collects money donations from passing cars on Main Street in Jewett City. Photos by Janice Steinhagen.

The till was smaller than usual this year at the Jewett City Fire Department’s annual toy and boot drive Dec. 14, as department personnel braved the persistent snowstorm for nine solid hours to solicit donations of toys and money from the sparse traffic on Main Street.

A.A. Young Hose and Ladder Co. Chief Bob Hanson said that this year’s total was $2,132, roughly half of what the department collected last year for the town’s needy children. “It was good all in all, considering the weather,” he said. “Honestly, it’s not the quantity - every little bit helps,” he added. “Everybody was giving.” He said that passing drivers emptied the change from their car cupholders, and even passing pedestrians who looked like they were in need themselves dropped a dollar into the firefighters’ boot.

About 20 fire department personnel volunteered their Saturday to help run the event, including firefighters, fire police, cadets and auxiliary members. Santa and his elf made an appearance to greet passers-by, and a festive atmosphere of music was provided by Mr. AC-DC D.J.

Town Hall served as the holding area for the growing pile of toys, destined for Griswold Youth and Family Services, which will sort and distribute the toys to needy families with help from Griswold public school personnel. Hanson said that the fire department will also cut a check for the monetary donations to GYFS for the purchase of more toys. While past years have seen upwards of four toy-laden trucks to the Youth Center, this year’s haul won’t be that voluminous, he said.

The downturn in donations seems part of a trend, as Hanson said the food drive held by the fire department to benefit the Jewett City’s St. Mary Food Pantry last month also yielded a much smaller outcome than in past years. He attributed the drop in donations to the fact that during the same weekend, he said, “everybody and their brother were doing food drives” as well.

This is the local toy drive’s 13th year, and Hanson said that “next year we’ll be out there.”

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