story & photo
by Karen Koerner
Merry and bright smiles filled the parking lot of the Groton City’s Municipal Building Dec. 2 as officers of the City of Groton Police Department joined forces with the United States Marine Corps and members of St. John’s Church of Groton to collect food, warm winter coats, and Toys for Tots. Residents began rolling through the donation area at 9 am when the drive began, and a police cruiser designated for toys was nearly full only an hour later.
“We collected nearly 1,000 individual toys and filled two-plus cruisers at the event,” stated, Chief of Police, Groton, following the drive. “We also partnered with Pastor Joseph Coleman and St. John’s Church of Groton on a coat drive. We collected nearly 100 used coats, scarves, gloves and mittens.” Residents also donated non-perishable food, filling a pickup truck full for the United Way Gemma Moran Food Pantry.
Groton City Mayor Keith Hedrick dropped by and was happy with early progress. “This is tremendous,” he said. “It’s all about community. It’s got to be.”
A steady stream of Groton City residents were happy to give. “My husband said, ‘don’t bring them back home,’” laughed Johanna Maynard, as she dropped off bags of afghans, winter scarves, toys and food donations. “Take the bag, too,” she said of a tote that held her donations.
Pastor Joseph and some of his parishioners arrived to help, loaded with donations themselves. “This is a neighborhood thing. This is an important event,” he said. As donors arrived, Chief Michael pointed out the relationships that were making the drive a success.
“We’re big on community policing here, and we try to stay involved,” Michael said. The USMC Toys for Tots drive was represented by Marine Sgt. Timothy Dallas. The Marine said collected toys will be distributed to area non-profits that help families with children who have a hard time creating a happy Christmas.
Rounding out the volunteers were Groton City Police Cadets, volunteering under the supervision of Officer Trish Lieteau, Cadet Advisor. Volunteers and donors were full of the Holiday Spirit. Chief Michael was pleased with the first year’s effort. “Our agency wishes all very Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year 2018,” he said.