The Christmas toy drive season began in Sussex County with help from local police officers and firefighters.
“We are teaming with local police forces to reinforce a positive attitude with local law enforcement,” said the Rev. Stephen Vogt of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Hamburg, where the drive was launched on Saturday, Oct. 10. “Police have gotten a bad, negative rap lately and that needs to be redefined.”
On board to receive toys were church trustee Bob Winter, who came up with the idea, the Rev. Vogt, and officers from the Hamburg, Hardyston, Vernon and Ogdensburg police and fire departments.
Winter said the church’s goal is to collect 1,000 toys for children from infancy to age 12. Toys will be distributed only in Sussex County.
Donations of new, unwrapped toys may be dropped off at the church, located at 3320 NJ Route 94, on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and also at several local businesses. like McAfee Hardware, two restaurants in Hardyston, and Lots of Bagels. The toy collection will be ongoing until Nov. 30.
Lauren Gonnelli of U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer’s office presented the church and each of the participating police and fire departments with certificates honoring their service to the community.
There has been some confusion about another toy drive. Toys for Tots, held in conjunction with the U.S. Marine Corps, is also actively collecting toys for the Christmas holiday. It was reported in local Sussex County newspapers that the drive is canceled. Jim Brady, the chair for Toys for Tots in Sussex County, was on hand at Prince of Peace Church to clarify that only the Toys for Tots Train Ride is canceled this year because of Covid-19.
“The Toys for Tots toy collection is definitely on,” Brady said.
Their toy drive has several drop-off sites, including Homer’s Restaurant, The Liquor Factory and The Bagel Bistro.
“We are teaming with local police forces to reinforce a positive attitude with local law enforcement. Police have gotten a bad, negative rap lately and that needs to be redefined.” --The Rev. Stephen Vogt