A community-support initiative for the holidays led by Greater Napanee Emergency Services (GNES) inspired many in the area to pay it forward this December. The firefighters organize a holiday toy drive annually, but this year in particular stood out as a community success.
“We provided almost 70 children with toys and didn’t have to shop for a single one,” said Erin Tyers, the Administrative Assistant at GNES. “We normally divide up what we get and then have a shopping night to get additional gifts for kids. This year we had so many toy donations we didn’t do that.”
With an abundance of toys to deliver, the organizers were able to put money that had been donated to work in a different way, Tyers noted. “We were able to spend twice as much on each food basket as compared to last year. This meant that we could include additional items like pasta, sauces, soups, cereals, pancake mix, and syrup. We were also able to provide diapers and wipes to families that needed them.”
Lennox & Addington OPP Media Relations Officer Shannon Cork congratulated her partners in the Fire Department for their efforts. “After working so close with community partners over the last few years of my 18 years in policing, I have come to learn that we have a wonderful community that does so many behind-the-scenes initiatives just because they want to help.”
Tyers reiterated that the success of this project was the result of multiple individuals and groups stepping up, noting that Selby United Church provided a donation that enabled the purchase of warm hats and mitts for 17 children in the Selby area.
Overall, says Tyers, “it was an amazing showing of how our community rallies to support its residents.”
Officer Cork added her thanks as well. “From the people that donate to the fire hall, to the staff that work to put it all together, to the agencies that reach out to those in need and deliver the goods… Great work all!”