Residents of the wealthy East Rock neighborhood donate toys to needy children in the nearby Newhallville section of New Haven. This year, there has been some trouble. "Obviously we're at a very dire economic time in America. I suspected we'd have slower donations but I didn't think it would be this slow," said Debra Hauser.
Lt. Rebecca Sweeney-Burns from the New Haven Police Department knows the need this year is quite a bit higher than most. "The need has just increased ten-fold with the amount of foreclosures. We have multiple homes that are under foreclosures. We also have multiple vacant homes. The need has doubled unfortunately."
Sweeney-Burns and Hauser spent the last few days shuttling toys from Hauser's home in East Rock and the local police substation. This year, they both say, they haven't been shuttling the amount of toys they'll need for needy children in Newhallville.
For the police department, this toy drive is important in forging bonds between the police and neighborhood children, "It just develops a relationship between the police department and the children of Newhallville. You'll see them through the year and they'll remember the presents."
Like every year, the need isn't just for young kids, it's for children of all ages. "Often times people think of toy drives and they think of little children, but in our experience older children, particularly teenagers, are very aware of what they don't have," Hauser said.
If you'd like to help out you can contact Debra Hauser directly at 203-996-9713.