The Oswego Fire Protection District hosted its annual toy drive to benefit needy families in the Oswego area.
The annual event, now in its sixth year, said Lt. John Cornish who is in charge of organizing the drive, rallies students from all five Oswego junior highs to collect toys to donate to the Needy Family Christmas Project run by the Oswegoland Optimist Club.
For every toy donation a student receives a ticket with a chance to be an “elf” for the day and help load the toys into ambulance and fire trucks and then sort them back at the station, explained Cornish. The elves and their parents are then treated to a breakfast.
Fire Marshal Alec Keenum, who made two trips to different junior highs on Thursday morning, said many of the fire fighters serving breakfast do so on their days off.
“It’s one big project that we all love to be involved with,” he said.
Once the toys arrive back at the station, they are sorted into piles to be brought to the Optimist Club.
“There are a lot of kids who really appreciate all the work you’ve been doing,” said Cornish to a group of students as they prepared to sort. “You should be very proud.”
This year, as of Thursday morning, Cornish said they had collected 2,598 toys.
It fell short of the OFPD’s goal of 3,500 toys () but Cornish said it was a fantastic number and he was so amazed by everyone’s generosity.
Every year, in the spirit of friendly competition, a traveling trophy is awarded to the junior high that collects the most toys.
This year, the winner was Plank Junior High with a total of 655 toys donated.