Bringing holiday cheer to more than 1,000 local children in need
Not even COVID-19 can stop the Violet Township Fire Department 2020 Toy Drive dedicated to bringing holiday cheer to more than 1,000 less fortunate children in Fairfield County and beyond.
“Our fire department began having career firefighters in 1986 and this drive began in 1988. It’s a whole different world for all of us this year and we know this year will be tougher for a lot of families,” said Violet Township Fire Department Battalion Chief Gregg Goodwin. “It has always been a group of firefighters taking on the drive during their free and off-duty time. We take a lot of pride in the drive and it impacts a lot of people in Fairfield County. We’re pretty proud of that.”
The event is being modified this year to a contactless format for the safety of the firefighters, donors and recipients.
The advance toy drive will be Monday through Dec. 23. Two fire station lobbies will be open to deposit donations from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. in designated containers. Station 592 is located at 8700 Refugee Rd., while Station 591 at 21 Lockville Road will have a donation box located inside the Columbus Street/Pickerington Chamber of Commerce door.
“The fire stations will also have an old-style mailbox with a slit in it for cash and gift card donations in their lobbies,” Goodwin said.
The drive-through event will be Dec. 5 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Fire Station 592.
These additional guidelines are in place for the toy drive:
- The drop-off process is contactless
- Masks will be required when bringing donations inside fire station lobbies
- Accepted are new, unwrapped toys in original packaging, gift cards and cash donations
- Not accepted are plush animals, pre-owned items, handmade items, homemade items and food
Also new this year are online links where toys, cash and gift cards can be donated via Target, Amazon and Pay Pal. The links are accessible by visiting the toy drive section of the www.violet.oh.us website. Kingy’s Pizza gift cards are available via the restaurant’s drive-thru.
Children benefiting from the program are recommended primarily by school guidance counselors.
“We’ve been able to help 100 percent of Violet Township and still give to others throughout Fairfield and some in Licking County,” Goodwin said. “We have checks and balances in place with school counselors who really know the families and make sure everyone is getting what they need to maximize how many families we can help.
About the Violet Township Fire Department: The Violet Township Fire Department provides professional emergency medical and fire service utilizing a combination of full-time, paid part-time and volunteer firefighters staffing three stations for 24 hours every day with equipment capable of providing advanced life support to deal with any crisis or emergency. The department responds to more than 5,000 fire and emergency medical calls each year, serving more than 39,000 residents in an area of approximately 41 square miles. Serving Pickerington, portions of Canal Winchester and Reynoldsburg, the department participates in mutual aid contracts with all surrounding fire departments. Violet Township Fire Department firefighters complete more than 10,000 hours of training annually.