Toys for Tots looks to rebound from off year in town
GREENWICH — Greenwich residents have the chance to make this a special holiday season for those who are in need thanks to a Town Hall drive for Toys for Tots.
The annual drive sees many town employees taking part every year, but it is open to the public. The deadline for participation is Dec. 14. New, unwrapped toys are being collected in the Finance Department of the second floor of Town Hall.
Elaine Brown, executive assistant to the town comptroller, has been overseeing the Town Hall toy drive for 11 years, though it began years before she arrived.
“We do this every year and it’s very nice,” Brown said. “We kind of challenge ourselves to see how many boxes we can fill up. People come in and stand at the counter and say, ‘Oh I forgot the gift’ and the next time they come back with it. People love to be a part of this and it’s great to see everyone get in the holiday spirit and think of kids in need and of things other than their own possessions and what you need. It’s a great way to think of other people.”
There have been years when all of the large collection boxes in the department have been filled, though giving tapered off last year, she said.
“I think sometimes people get occupied with Thanksgiving and all they have to do but when they start to focus on the holidays and do their shopping they’ll bring in some gifts,” Brown said.
The program is overseen by the United States Marine Corps. Regional collection is supervised by Stamford resident James Santangelo, past commander of the Stamford/Springdale VFW Post 9617. He agreed there was a bit of a lag in donations from Greenwich last year.
“I hope that it will bounce back this year,” Santangelo said. “Every year the need seems to grow an little bit and this year I think it will be bigger than last year so we need people to give.”
There are other Toys for Tots drives in town with boxes at places including the Ninth District Veterans headquarters in Glenville, Splurge Gifts on Lewis Street, Cunningham Auto Body on North Water Street and Stateline Deli on West Putnam Avenue. They all have the same Dec. 14 deadline.
Santangelo said one age range that needs more attention in terms of donations is girls ages 10-12.
Brown said the town Parks and Recreation Department in particular has been very good about making donations to Toys for Tots, including brand new sports equipment like basketballs and soccer balls.
“Those can be costly items for a parent to buy so it’s nice to get those,” Brown said.
Town Director of Parks and Recreation Joe Siciliano said that it’s something people in the department love to do.
“It’s a tradition for many years and I’m glad the people here do it,” Siciliano said. “I think everybody can find just a little to make somebody else’s holiday time a little bit better.”