Toys for Tots party a gift that keeps giving

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It’s an event during which Johnston’s reputation for generosity shines as bright as the red nose on Santa Claus’ famed reindeer Rudolph.

It’s an event that showcases the huge heats of the Johnston Association of Firefighters Local 1950 and Johnston Police Officers Local 307.

It’s an annual party that keeps growing in popularity and giving courtesy of Bar 101 and proud parents Pete Matteo, Justin Lemieux and Jamie Beaulieu.

It’s also a big battle that because of “Team Bar 101” and people mentioned above is won by the United States Marine Corps in its ongoing effort to make sure children from families in need have a Merry Christmas.

The support staff is endless and extends into the community and beyond because local leaders, like Johnston State Sen. Frank Lombardo and his wife, Patty, realize the importance of such an event, will be on hand Saturday night for the 8th Annual Toys for Tots Drive Party at Bar 101 that’s located at 1478 Atwood Avenue.

Perhaps Saturday’s annual press briefing, during which members of the JFD and JPD unions held at Fire Department Headquarters on Atwood Avenue, spoke volumes about the importance of what’s known locally as “The Toys for Tots Challenge.”

“It’s like the theme at Bar 101 of Keepin’ it Simple,” several local police and fire officials noted Saturday. “The goal every year is the same; fill the back end of a JFD rescue with as many toys, games and even bikes as possible to help the U.S. Marine Corps make Christmas merry for countless children.”

As Local 1950 President Keith Calci and Local 307 President Michael Andreozzi wanted it known: “Bring a new, unwrapped toy and enjoy a complimentary buffet Saturday night at Bar 101; the camaraderie and caring is classic.”

Jon Pistacchio, Vice President of the Johnston Association Firefighters Local 1950 announced: “Pete, Justin and Jamie will have drink specials all night and we’ve just received word that Santa Claus will make a special visit during Saturday night’s Toys for Tots Party.”

Calci, who leads what people have called “the most generous of all firefighters locals in Rhode Island,” added: “Even if you can’t come to the party, please consider stopping by Bar 101 and making a donation of a new and unwrapped toy. We’re hoping to reach and all-tie record number of donations Saturday night.”

“This [Toys for Tots Party] is always special,” Lombardo said. “It’s a great outpouring from our police and firefighters to help children of all ages have Christmas.”

To which Calci concluded: “The generosity of just the people who’ll come to Bar 101 Saturday night will be special. However, on behalf of all the members of both unions, we enjoy helping people in our community no matter what the season or reason.”

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