There was a time when some children in Warren County had to wake up on Christmas morning and find nothing under the tree.
Thanks to the annual Rescue Squad Toy Drive, those times have been gone for 50 years.
“It takes a lot of church groups, community groups, the bikers with their Toy Ride, and people making donations for this to happen,” said Rescue Squad director Chad Hillis. “Without this, some kids wouldn’t have much. Last year was the first year where every child received new toys and that’s our goal this year too.”
There are 505 children on the list to receive toys this year. Hillis said the all-time record of children served in one year is 1,007, which was about a decade ago.
Children are given a small box of toys based on their age and interests. The toys will be distributed from the Rescue Squad facility on Sparta Street Dec. 23.
“A lot of us older members remember when we used to make deliveries,” said Hillis. “It would just warm our hearts, but it would also take our members away from their own families. It works really well to pick up the toys from our building.”
The Rescue Squad was chartered in 1955 and began its annual Toy Drive shortly thereafter.
“I’ve been in it for 50 years and we’ve done it every year,” said longtime member Donnie Hillis. He says he doesn’t remember what prompted Rescue Squad members to start the Toy Drive, but it’s become an annual tradition.
The Toy Drive is run completely on donations and volunteer hours with the motorcycle Toy Ride providing much of the money. If you’d like to make a monetary donation, or donate a new toy, stop by the Rescue Squad building on Sparta Street after 5 p.m. Monday thru Friday until Dec. 22.