Toys piled up in police cruisers across Connecticut Saturday, as the State Police’s annual "stuff a cruiser" event kicked off in communities throughout the state.
East Haddam’s police cruiser looked more like Santa’s sleigh Saturday. Teddy bears, dolls, footballs, and tractors, filled the patrol SUV to the brim within an hour. The donations were dropped off at East Haddam Youth and Family Services.
“Typically, we provide Christmas gifts for anywhere between 100 and 110 kids in the community every year,” said Toni McCabe, who works for the organization.
Residents opened their wallets to give, as well. One person wrote a $500 check.
For some, donating to the town’s toy drive is an annual tradition.
“It does give me pleasure to shop. I don’t have grandchildren that young anymore so I love to go to the stores and look for toys,” explained Elsie Snell of East Haddam.
For others, it was the start of something new.
“We wanted to do it so that our little guy starts to see that not everyone is as lucky as him. His first experience trying to give back,” explained East Haddam resident Katie Hass as she held her son.
All walked away with that warm fuzzy feeling, knowing they’d helped make someone’s holiday be a bit brighter.
“It makes you feel good inside,” said Roger Snell.
“This town is so generous. We have folks that come out. We will fill our cruiser four times today,” said Corporal Craig Mansfield, of the East Haddam Police Department.
Mansfield said this is his favorite time of the year. State Patrol Trooper Patrick Hawes agreed.
“Nobody really calls us when they’re having a great day. So, on days like today it’s great to see everybody come out and donate to the under privileged kids,” added Hawes.