WESTFIELD—The Westfield Police Cadets are holding their third annual toy drive this weekend, and instead of one police vehicle they will be attempting to fill several vehicles with toys.
The Westfield Police Cadets will be at the Walmart in Westfield from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9. While there, they will be collecting donations of toys and money to help up to 200 families in need of assistance during this holiday season.
According to Westfield Det. Rick Mazza, who helps to operate the Cadet program, the program has been growing over the past two years, which includes the amount of toys and gifts they receive through donations.
“Normally its ‘stuff the cruiser,’ but last year we needed a second car, so it’s ‘stuff the cruisers’ this year,” Mazza said.
“Every year it gets bigger and bigger, it’s up to 200 families,” Mazza said. “It’s a great problem to have, to be inundated with toys.”
Mazza said that the several police vehicles that will be on hand will be filled with toys as they receive them, with the efforts to fill them being done by the Westfield Police Cadets. The approximately 30-member group, which is all-volunteer, ranges from 13 to 20 years old, and they learn about working on a police force through the program.
According to Mazza, the families that are helped through the toy drive are found through efforts such as talking with teachers.
“Usually teachers are the best bet to find out who needs the extra hand,” he said.
Items that the Cadets are looking for include toys for various age groups, and include Nerf and Lego toys, action figures, stuffed animals, sports equipment, as well as items for older children such as headphones, gift cards, toiletries and clothing. Also, bicycles can be useful and Mazza noted that people were going into the store last year, buying one and giving them to the Cadets.
Mazza said that baby items, such as clothing, toys, diapers and wipes is very useful for the drive, as well. According to Mazza, the group actually spent money on diapers and wipes last year.
Finally, if you’re unable to make it to Walmart Dec. 9 to donate, Mazza said that you can go to the Westfield Police Department and drop off a cash or toy donation to the officer inside of the lobby.