SOUTHINGTON — Southington police officers answered a different call of duty this weekend.
On Saturday, local police partnered with Walmart for their annual Stuff a Cruiser Toy Drive. Volunteers filled a police cruiser with toys and donations that will be given to local families in need during the holiday season.
“We work with Community Services and we bring them all of the donations right after this and they give them out to residents to help make their holiday season extra special,” said Officer Chad Butler. “We’ve been doing this a long time and we get a lot of support from the department, the cadet program and our community.”
The Stuff a Cruiser Toy Drive has been held since the early 90s.
“The community really responds,” said Deputy Police Chief William Palmieri. “We always have a truck full of gifts for people who are less fortunate. Every year it’s really special.”
More than toys are collectedlecting toys.
“We have some bins so that we’re able to organize everything by item type,” Butler said. “Cars, dolls, household goods. It’s not just toys because sometimes people need sheets, towels, toiletry stuff. The essentials.”
‘One big family’
Walmart Store Manager Nora Threlfall said that the drive “is great for the community.”
“We’ve been partners with them for quite a few years and we really enjoy being a part of it. I’m just glad that they come to us every year,” she said.
While he finds the community service fulfilling, Butler said that what he enjoys most is how much “people love being involved.”
“It gives you the feeling that you’re one big family. Like the whole town is your family.”