The Westfield Volunteer Fire Department is hosting its second annual community toy drive from now through Dec. 23, collecting new toys which will then be hand-delivered to children in their community.
The station, located at 3386 Old Westfield Road, has been joined in the effort by the next-door location of Family Dollar Store. Toys for the drive can be dropped off throughout the week in a box set up at the store, with plenty of new toys also available for purchase and donation.
“If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t be able to do this,” Westfield Fire Chief Jonathan Sutphin said of the store. “During the year they have found several ways to help us out and support us. They look at this as a way for them to give back to their community as well.”
On Christmas Eve, firefighters will deliver the toys to some areas of the community where need exists. Deliveries will be made in a trio of fire trucks, with lights flashing and sirens sounding.
Last year’s initial effort saw children from 74 different families receive toys, with at least one toy distributed per child. Children receiving toys were primarily between the ages of 1-12 but, Sutphin said, the program is open to all children.
With help from others in the community, the department was also able to distribute boxes filled with hygiene products to some 20 families.
“In recent years, we’ve made an effort to be more community involved,” Sutphin explained. “This is a great way to be involved in our community and to give something back. It’s another way for us to help our community.”
“Families normally see us during their worst times,” he continued. “This lets them see us as a part of the community and lets us be a part of some good memories. Seeing what some families go through, it feels good to be able to do this. It helps us to have a better Christmas.”