Every year during the holiday season, the officers of the Woonsocket Police Department volunteer their time to operate a toy drive to help area children. These are children of families who applied too late or do not qualify for the Adopt-A-family or Family Resources programs.
This year, the drive was almost cancelled. For several years, the department partnered with Walmart and soup kitchen in order to collect and distribute toys to children less fortunate. Unfortunately, Walmart moved to North Smithfield, where the North Smithfield Police Department collects toys for the children in their own community and Because He Lives is in the process of trying to reopen the kitchen in a new location after being displaced. With all of this bad news it seemed as if this year’s toy drive effort was not going to happen.
However, as this special time of year teaches us, there is always hope. OJ and Jeanne Auger of Wood Avenue, who each year put up a beautiful Christmas display, will open their home to assist in the toy drive. On Sunday, Dec. 18 from 4 –7 p.m., the Auger family will hold an open house to help the police department collect toys. Santa Clause will be on hand where kids can take pictures with him and some goodies will be served as well. All that is asked is that people bring new unwrapped toys or make a financial contribution. The Auger family has actually done this for the last couple of years in memory of their son Ron Auger, who used to be a dispatcher for the police department until his unfortunate passing in 2009.
“Ron was a big supporter of the program and looked forward to it each year,” said Jeanne Auger. “Last year we filled three pickup trucks worth of toys, this year we hope to fill at least one.”
Det. Sgt. John Scully III, who is in charge of the drive, indicated that some area businesses and clubs have already chipped in financially to help, they include the , Lions Club and Cercle Laurier. Scully and his assistant Sgt. Shawn Kerrigan use the financial donations to purchase toys where supplementation is needed in particular age groups.
As of this past Thursday, Scully had received calls from over 78 families. , whose councilors perform home visits, also provides a list of families in need to the Police Department. Once Head Start submits its list, there will be well over 100 families on the list. These families range from one child to as many as five.
Once the toys are collected they will be sorted, bagged and labeled. The families will then be called and invited to the station to pick up their special bag of toys. These toys will help to brighten Christmas for children of our city.
The address of the Auger family where this three hour drive will be held on Dec. 18 from 4 to 7 p.m. is 329 Wood Ave. here in Woonsocket. Help to bring a smile to the faces of the city’s children!