Every year the Lloyd and Marlborough Police Departments host toy drives that brings a little holiday cheer to less fortunate families in the area.
Lloyd Police Chief Daniel Waage said this year his department decided that half of the toys collected this year would be donated to the Grace Smith House in Poughkeepsie and the other half will be brought to the Methodist Church in the hamlet and distributed to kids in Highland.
The website for the Grace Smith House states their core principle that, “No One Deserves To Be Abused.” The center, which opened in 1981, is a, “nonprofit agency that provides residential and non-residential services to victims of domestic violence and their families. We offer shelter, counseling, transitional housing, advocacy, safety planning, preventative education and more to residents of Dutchess County.”
Nina Schutzman, Community Development Coordinator for the Grace Smith House, came to the Lloyd Police station to collect the toys for children who are staying at the center. She said she appreciates the support from the Lloyd Police Department.
“We absolutely love them and I think it’s amazing for what they’ve done here,” she said. “All of this stuff is going to make so many children happy.”
Schutzman described her work with the center.
“A lot of what I’ve been doing is to trying to raise awareness about who we are and I do that a lot through social media but I also handle a lot of our fundraisers, like our Spring Appeal and our Grace Pumpkin Parade,” she said.
Chief Waage said Schutzman reached out to him, saying there is a need to bring a bit of cheer to mothers and children who are caught up in challenging situations.
“It must be tragic for them to maybe not be in their home and have to go somewhere else, so if this helps to make it a little bit easier for them, we’re all about that,” he said.
Marlborough Police Chief Gerald Cocozza said they have hosted a toy drive for nearly 20 years. The department solicits toy and monetary donations from the community just after Thanksgiving and distributes them days before Christmas. If there are any extra toys they get donated to area agencies like Family of New Paltz and Woodstock.
“The support that we get from the community is overwhelming,” Cocozza said. “A lot of local businesses donate a substantial amount of money for us to go shop for toys. Some also donate new toys and wrapping paper to the box at the station and the schools also bring in some toys for us.”
Cocozza said they purchase a wide variety of toys to accommodate young boys and girls on up to teens. He said they have an application that residents fill out that becomes a wish list.
“If it is something that we can accommodate or closely accommodate, we try. This way they get a little something personal,” he said.
Cocozza said about $3,000 was spent this year on toys. He thanked his head dispatcher Jennifer Van Amburgh and her daughter, Gynell, who purchased all of the toys.
“She does it all. She creates the applications, she talks to all the applicants, she buys all the toys and makes all of the arrangement; we’re just here for show, the muscle,” he laughs. “She does a tremendous amount of work.”
Cocozza said they have 45 minute time segments when families arrive at the station.
“As they come in we’ll help them carry stuff out and make sure they get their food and all the stuff,” he said.