Saline firefighters have launched their annual Toys for Tots campaign.
People are invited to drop off new, unwrapped toys at the Saline Area Fire Department, 205 E. Michigan Ave. There are also drop off locations at Saline Area Schools buildings and at local businesses including Windsor Mold, Ruby Tuesday’s, Dollar General and Saline Evangelical Home. Firefighters are delivering Toys for Tots boxes around town.
The campaign provides toys for children of families who receive help from Saline Area Social Service. Some of the toys are also collected for the Washtenaw County Toys for Tots program.
“No kid should wake up on Christmas without gifts under the tree,” Fire Chief Craig Hoeft said.
Firefighters typically collect for about 150 Saline area children. The goal is to provide each child with five gifts. Hoeft is always impressed by the generosity displayed by Saline residents.
“Saline is very generous. People put thought into it and donate really nice toys that would be worthy of being under any Christmas Tree,” Hoeft said.
Many companies collect gifts at Christmas parties and then drop off toys at the fire house. He’s already had calls from teachers who are planning to work with students to collect toys.
For anyone wondering what kind of gifts to buy, Hoeft reminds people to think of the older kids.
“There are always the 11 to 13 year old kids that are tough to cater to. We always end up with a lot of toys for the younger kids. So, keep an eye out for toys for slightly older kids,” Hoeft said.
The firefighters launched the local Toys for Tots campaign years ago at the firehouse. The Fiddlers ReStrung visited the firehouse for a concert before the Christmas Parade. The Fiddlers ReStrung then moved their holiday concert to Saline High School. The band has since merged with the Saline Fiddlers and there is no holiday show anymore. But the Toys for Tots campaign carries on.
“Toys for Tots just took on a life of its own. Today you don’t even have to say anything. It just kind of happens,” Hoeft said.