WARSAW — It was quite a sight to see this morning, Dec. 3, with nearly all of the Kosciusko County Fire Association’s 14 departments gathered to donate collected toys to Toys for Tots.
Starting around 8 a.m., department participants congregated their trucks at JB’s Furniture, 2101 E. Center St., Warsaw. While waiting for all departments to arrive, the firefighters and their significant others chatted and joked while sharing hot coffee and donuts. Many of the fireman commented on how close the group is and the family-like bond they share.
“It’s a great group of people,” commented Burket fireman Dave Sheets.
Around 9 a.m., and with a police escort, the sixteen fire trucks paraded their way to Martin’s Supermarket, Husky Trail, with lights and sirens blaring.
The toy drive taking place at Martin’s, in collaboration with WNDU Channel 16, started at 7 a.m. and accepted donations until 11:30 a.m. News channel celebrity Tricia Sloma was present.
With choir students singing, the fire trucks pulled up one by one as firefighters and their families delivered hundreds of toys to Toys for Tots. The collection campaign started on Nov. 19.
The fun display of lights and sirens not only brings attention to the local fire departments and their contributions to their communities, but also brings attention to local Toys for Tots efforts.
Toys for Tots is run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve, distributing toys to children whose parents simply cannot afford to buy gifts. The organization’s goal in doing so is to bring a message of hope to the less fortunate and to unite communities.
It is the goal of the organization to provide every requested child with two toys. The local toy drive sees thousands of donations every year from various organizations throughout the county. Besides the local fire fighters and their families, numerous people could also be seen walking through the parking lot with bags of toys ready to donate.
Collections will continue to be taken until Dec. 14. Drop off locations in Warsaw include: Martin’s, Walmart, Big R, Renekers Sports shop, Zoyo’s, Dental Solutions, both Owen’s locations, Marsh, CVS, Walgreens, Monteith Tire, all Dollar General Stores, Family Video, Best Deal Auto, 1st Federal Savings Bank, Beacon Credit Union, City Hall, Warsaw Police Dept., Warsaw Community Schools, WRSW and Willie Radio Station, The Village at Winona, Align Life and Ruby Tuesday’s.
Other locations in the county include: CVS of North Webster and Syracuse; Dollar General Stores in Syracuse, Milford, Mentone, North Webster and Pierceton; Lizards in Milford; Wawasee and Tippecanoe Valley schools; Lakeside Fitness in Syracuse.
For more information on Kosciusko County’s Toys for Tots program, see its website.