Danbury Police, church to give hundreds of presents to families in need
DANBURY — As many as 200 Danbury families will be able to finish some last-minute holiday shopping on Saturday afternoon with the help of the Danbury Police and The Gathering Community Church.
Officers and church leaders have loaded the Jericho Partnership on Rose Street with hundreds of brand-name toys, dolls, sports supplies and games specifically for some of the children most in need this holiday season.
The third annual toy drive is one of the church’s biggest philanthropic events of the year and, with the help of the Fraternal Order of Police, they’re able to put presents under otherwise empty trees.
“It just keeps getting bigger every year,” said Rev. Wes Johnson II, who coordinates the drive for the church. “It’s so special to be able to provide these kids with a Christmas they maybe wouldn’t have.”
Earlier this week, officers unloaded dozens of boxes of toys and gifts at the partnership to prepare for the big day.
They’ll be back at the partnership on Saturday afternoon to help the families pick through the inventory and celebrate the holiday, said Sgt. John Krupinsky, who coordinates the drive for the police department.
“The Rev. Wes and the church do such an amazing job over there, picking the families and setting it up,” Krupinsky said. “My job is just to bring the toys.”
Krupinsky, who is the local and state president of the Fraternal Order of Police, receives the donated toys each year through the chapter based in Philadelphia, which has the “hook up” to get the newest and most-coveted gifts each year, he said coyly.
He then returns the gifts in a box truck sleigh to set up for the families at Jericho, where officers will get to introduce themselves and build relationships with underrepresented parts of the community.
“The officers are amazing, they really are,” Johnson said earlier this month.
The department’s Police Explorer program for city youth also gathers and donates hundreds more toys through other local agencies, although this year’s closing of Toys R Us lightened the explorers’ haul, officers said.
“It’s very important for us to have a good relationship with our entire community, and these are the ways we do that,” Krupinsky said. “You can’t just talk, you have to take some action.
“This is probably my biggest program and my favorite thing to do when we’re dealing with community children who might not have a Christmas,” he continued. “Take all of the community service out of this, the most important thing about this is that little kids are getting Christmas.”