Ryan Scott Ottney
PDT Staff Writer
Halloween may be just around the corner, but the New Boston Police Department has already begun accepting donations, and names of needy families within the village, for their annual Christmas Toy Drive.
Each year, for well over a decade, the department has collected toys, clothes, and cash (which is used to buy more gifts) to deliver Christmas to needy families in the community. Originally offered only to residents of the village, the program eventually expanded to everyone in Scioto County. In 2011, the program delivered gifts to more than 800 families.
This year, however, the program is cutting back to New Boston residents and students of New Boston School only. Organizer Lt. Diane Davis, from the New Boston Police Department, is currently off work until December following an injury. She said she’s sorry to cut back the program this year, but said she just isn’t able to put in the same amount of work as she did in the previous years. Many nights, she said, she used to stay at the police department after an 8-hour shift to volunteer another 8-10 hours sorting and wrapping gifts. This year, she just isn’t able to.
Businesses, organizations and individuals can drop off a new, unwrapped gift item to the New Boston Police Department. Davis said they ask for new gifts only because every child deserves a new gift on Christmas, and unwrapped so they can properly tag it for the appropriate age and gender of the child. Each year, volunteers spend hours at the New Boston Police and Fire departments wrapping hundreds of gifts.
In the past they’ve gotten coats, socks, gloves, winter hats, and lots and lots of toys.
Cash donations will also be accepted at the police station, or deposited directly into a the “New Boston Police Christmas Fund” account at Desco Federal Credit Union. Money donated to the program is used to buy more gifts, and any money leftover after the season will be saved to use next year.
Bikers also collect money from motorists in New Boston on Black Friday — the day after Thanksgiving — and that money is then shared with the police department’s program. Because the program isn’t serving the entire county this year, Davis said she isn’t sure whether or not the bikers will participate this year, but she hopes that they will.
The Southern Ohio Spartans football team is also contributing this year, preparing a food basket for some of the families. Davis said the team will prepare as many baskets as possible this year, but they would like to have enough for everyone if it’s possible for them to do so.
Several days before Christmas, Santa Claus will arrive in New Boston for a very special delivery with the New Boston police and fire departments, and other volunteers, as they bring gifts to needy children in the village.
Applications for the program this year will be given out by New Boston School to its students. Even students living outside New Boston will qualify for the program, Davis said, as long as they attend New Boston School. Anyone else living in the village would like to have their name on the list to receive a gift this year can visit the New Boston Police Department. Davis said they must provide proof of residency in the village.
Ryan Scott Ottney may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Ryan on Twitter @PDTwriter.