The 's fifth annual Toys for Tots event was a success.
Together with , , Bednarcik Junior High., and , the OFPD organized a toy drive with the goal to “ensure every child has a toy this holiday season.”
A total of 2,726 toys were collected—an increase from last year's drive, which yielded 1,912 toys.
"It was a record year for us," said Lt. John Cornish, who heads the Toys for Tots drive. "It's an awesome program. The community benefits greatly in all aspects. It’s not just about the folks receiving, but about the folks putting so much work and effort into the collection."
Five years ago, only one junior high school was involved in the collection. Now, all four schools are a part of the Toys for Tots event.
Each school participated in a toy drive, which started in November. For each toy that a student brought in, they received a raffle ticket that would give them the chance to be an “elf” for a day.
Cornish said he attended an assembly for each school to talk about the program.
"There’s always kids in the school that have done it and won the year before and they talk to each other and really get the other students excited," he said.
Ten winners from each school were chosen and the “elves,” with aid from local firefighters, helped load the fire department vehicles with gifts on the morning of December 16 with friends and family standing by.
The students were then transported via fire engine to Fire Station One where they and their families were treated to a homemade breakfast made by the firefighters and then given a personalized vehicle and station tour.
Cornish said the fire department took up a collection as well and raised $875. Farm and Fleet donated a $125 gift card and sold the fire department several bikes at sale prices.
“We had a total of seventeen bikes,” Cornish said, adding that the bikes came in various shapes and sizes for the kids.
The toys were delivered Saturday to the , which will distribute them to local families in need during this holiday season.
Kristi Gabehart, Matt Storrie, Brittany Mangano and Josh Edwards (teachers at Bednarcik, Thompson, Traughber and Plank, respectively) helped organize the drive at their schools.