It’s a time-honored tradition that’s a quarter century old.
It’s a partnership headed by Mayor Joseph Polisena and Johnston Police Chief Richard S. Tamburini that makes sure Santa Claus will make his annual appearance Christmas Eve.
It’s the Johnston Police Explorers “Toys for Kids” Drive that began this week and will continue until Thursday evening, December 13, when Post 405 will hold what has been called the “largest gift wrapping party anywhere this side of the North Pole.”
“We’re now accepting donations of new toys,” Major Thomas H. Dolan, the JPD officer who coordinates the award-winning Explorers program with Lt. Steve Guilmette, announced Monday night. “All toys go directly to children of Johnston families in need.”
As Dolan emphasized during Monday’s press briefing, “All of the toy donations are confidential and we have a special location for the actual distribution of what we hope will be a record of gift-wrapped toys.”
The “Toys for Kids” Drive, he said, “has had great success in year’s prior and we are hoping to make this year’s collection and distribution of the donated toys to families in need the best year yet.”
Dolan, whose children are all grown but loves this heart-warming “Toys for Kids” Drive, added, “The ability for a parent to see a smile on their child’s face on Christmas morning when opening their presents can hopefully help them put aside the stresses they may be under from life’s twists and turns they face, even if it’s just for a day.”
The Christmas Collection of Toys has been a part of the community service that has been performed by the Johnston Police Explorers since the mid 1990s. Since then, the program remains as a great benefit and comfort those members of the Johnston community in need at the holiday season.
The donations of newly purchased toys are collected from the donation boxes placed in different locations throughout the Johnson. Those generously donated toys are collected and then wrapped by members of the Johnston Police Explorers program – as well as their friends and families – during the annual wrapping party that fills ever nook and cranny of the Senior Center.
Santa Claus always makes an appearance to personally thank each Explorer and the people who are wrapping what Dolan hopes will be the largest toy donation since this program began a quarter-century ago.
“I personally want to thank all our residents for helping spread holiday cheer to Johnston families,” Polisena said while urging people to make a donation of at least one new toy to this year’s drive. “Your generosity is very much appreciated.”
Tamburini echoed the Mayor’s sentiments adding, “If you or a family you know is in need of help this year please contact Terry at 743-4544 and please remember, the toy distribution is handled confidentially.”
The Chief noted that toy collection bins are located at the town’s schools, the JPD Headquarters and Stop & Shop located at 1 Commerce Way in Johnston. Cutlines for pix on sheets slugged 11-27-18 1240
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These four Johnston High School students – Zachary Morin, Elvira Larios, Devin Medeiros and Bailey Morin – are also members of the Johnston Police Explorers Post 405 that launched its annual “Toys for Kids” Drive this week in hopes of generating a record collection for children from needy families throughout the town. (Sun Rise photo by Pete Fontaine)