State police serve and also protect holiday spirit
Santa Claus landed briefly at the Martha's Vineyard state police barracks last week, lending a hand to Sgt. Neal Maciel and Trooper David Parent as they kicked off the holiday Toys For Tots drive. The State Police, working with the United States Marine Corps Reserve, sponsor the toy drive for needy families each year. This year donations are off substantially, by as much as 50 percent, according to organizers.
"Economically, it's a difficult time for everybody," said Sgt. Maciel. "But any donation big or small would be welcome. It's not the size of the donation that counts."
Mr. Claus, who took time off from his duties determining whether Island boys and girls are naughty or nice, grumbled a bit about the tightness of his wide black belt, but his spirits brightened considerably when he saw the first sleigh load of toy donations, from Fred Mascolo, owner of Trader Fred's in Edgartown.
Photo by Steve Myrick
State police are also helping out with the Red Stocking Fund this year. Those wishing to spread a little holiday cheer to either Toys for Tots or the Red Stocking Fund can bring new, unwrapped toys to the State Police barracks during business hours. Sgt. Maciel advises donors to call first (508-693-0545) to arrange a time for a drop-off, and he can often pick up donations for those who can't get to the barracks in Oak Bluffs.
Especially needed this year are toys for children ages infant to two years old, and gifts for children age nine and up.
Cash donations are also welcome at both organizations. Checks should be made out to either Toys for Tots or The Red Stocking Fund. Collections for Toys for Tots will end December 15, but collections for the Red Stocking Fund will continue until two days before Christmas.
'It's great to put a smile on a kid's face," said Sgt. Maciel. "That's what the holidays are all about. If we can do our part to bring some holiday spirit to a child, it makes it all that much better."