Holiday Helpers collect toys

Messenger photo by Mike Munden

Once again, the London Fire Department and Madison County Department of Jobs and Family Services have joined forces to collect toys for needy children. Helping to promote the effort are: (from left) Firefighter Nicholas Smith, elf Sherri Kronk, Chrissy Boyd, Sue Mosier, Diana Frey and Firefighter Bryan Daley.

Chrissy Boyd has worked at the Madison County Department of Jobs and Family Services for 16 years. All 16, she has participated in one way or another with the department’s Christmas toy collection. This year, she, Diana Frey, and London Fire Department Lt. Mark Foster are the program’s chairs.

“The best part is seeing the joy on parents’ faces. That’s when you really realize they couldn’t afford Christmas for their kids without this program,” Boyd said.

Dec. 3 is the cut-off date for families in need to sign up to receive toys through the Holiday Helpers Firefighter Toy Drive. Anyone who signs up after that date will be put on a waiting list. Participants must be Madison County residents. Parents can pick up their toys on Dec. 14 and Dec. 17 at the toy collection warehouse, 306 Lafayette St. in London (near the Bureau of Motor Vehicles). Walk-throughs for parents on the waiting list are set for Dec. 18-20.

The public can get involved one of two ways, either by adopting a family and purchasing toys specifically for those children, or by donating toys or money without adopting a particular family. Toys purchased for adoptions can be dropped off at the warehouse from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. Dec. 10-13. All other donations may be dropped off at the warehouse or the London Fire Department through Dec. 20.

“We have 350 kids already adopted and we’re still taking applications,” Boyd said. Individuals or groups who “adopt” children are asked to purchase for each child a minimum of three gifts for a total of no more than $50.

Toys are needed for children up to age 18. Items are especially needed for infants. Hats and mittens of all sizes also are being collected.

For more information about the Holiday Helpers Firefighter Toy Drive, call 740-852-4770.

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