The importance of the 2017 Annual Holiday “Toys for Kids Drive” is featured at the top of a promotional poster that features the Town of Johnston seal and Johnston Police Department logo.
Moreover, is a request of sorts from Mayor Joseph Polisena and Chief Richard S. Tamburini, who are simply asking Johnstonians to help make Christmas merry for children in families who are in need during the holiday season.
The annual “Toys for Kids Drive” is also a tradition in Johnston that has been going for roughly the past 20 years and is administered each year by the JPD’s highly acclaimed and award winning Explorers Post 405.
It’s also a toy drive conducted in Johnston and, as George Arakelian, who owns and operates A Custom Car Stereo Center on Atwood Avenue and serves as President of the Friends of Explorers Post 405, said, “All of your gifts go directly to boys and girls in Johnston.”
Arakelian, who along with his wife Gina Sabitoni-Arekelian are well known for their ongoing and extraordinary works with various non-profits, said earlier this week, “This is a very, very, very important program. My wife and I love children and we’re hoping that this year will set a record for the most toys and games we’ve ever collected.”
The 2016 “Toys for Kids Drive” wound up benefitting 125 families in Johnston and Arakelian, as well as JPD Major Thomas H. Dolan, Explorers Chief Katherine Rocha and the two-dozen plus Cadets who make up Post 405, are asking your support to donate a toy, game, gift card of children’s oriented gift to help kids of families in need.
“This is a request for donations of new toys or gift cards,” Polisena said while pledging his support to “those children of needy families won’t go without having a Merry Christmas.”
Tamburini also issued a similar statement while announcing that people can bring new and unwrapped toys, games or event gift cards to the JPD Headquarters on Atwood Avenue and leave them in a box inside the main lobby.
Likewise, Arakelian said people can also bring those above type of unwrapped gifts to any of Johnston’s public schools now through Tuesday, Dec. 12.
“Please, we cannot accept stuffed animals during this toy drive,” Arakelian explained. “Obviously, gift card donations would be ideal for older children but our group appreciates any and all support people can provide in this ongoing need to put a smile on a child’s face at Christmas.”
He also issued an invitation for people to attend the always heart-warming Explorers Gift Wrapping Party that’s scheduled for Thursday evening, Dec. 14 and will again be held at the Johnston Senior Center at 1291 Hartford Avenue beginning at 6 p.m.
“It’s something special that often features tears to joy,” Arakelian said of the Explorers Gift Wrapping Party. “We turn the Senior Center into Santa’s Workshop; even members of Boy Scout Troop and Cub Scout Pack 20 and their parents have been a huge help in previous wrapping parties.”
Anyone who attends the wrapping party will also have a chance to win some money, as the Explorers Post will have a raffle with prizes totaling $1500.
Arakelian also asked people who known of a family that is in need to please call Major Dolan, who coordinates the Explorers Post 405 for the JPD along with Lt. Steve Guilmette, at 7757-3100 Ext. 3138).
“Our toy distribution is handled confidentially,” Arakelian announced. “In advance, our Explorers Post 405 family thanks you for helping spread holiday cheer to Johnston families and that your generosity is very much appreciated.”