Westport engages in 75th anniversary of Toys for Tots

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Photo by Cameron Almonte '23

One of the Westport donation sites for Toys for Tots, located outside of ASF Sports and Outdoors on Dec. 5, 2022.

2022 marks the 75th year of the Marine Toys for Tots event that occurs in Westport and throughout the United States in the days leading up to Christmas, starting on Dec. 3. The charity is a 97% non-profit organization that has helped over 281 million children receive gifts throughout the United States, and has collected over 627 million since the organization was founded in 1947, according to Marine Toys for Tots

Many Westport community members participate in this annual charity event such as John Inglese ’23 and his family, who have been donating since 2008. 

“My family and I have been donating to Toys for Tots ever since I could remember,” Inglese said. “The officers are always super thankful.” 

The toys are taken to Bridgeport and Bridgeport hospital…we don’t personally deliver the toys…but if a terminally ill child’s wish is to ride in a police car, we grant that wish. It’s all for a great cause. ”

— Officer Shawn Wong

There are donation sites spread all throughout Westport including Willows Pediatrics, Awesome Toys & Gifts and the Westport Police department. Another donation site in Westport is ASF Sports and Outdoors, which has been in support of the charity for over a decade. 

“It’s all for a great pause and is highly supported, which is why this store has been supporting the event since 2005,” Andrea Cipolla, ASF worker, said. “If people aren’t willing to go to a different store to purchase toys, they can purchase them here to donate.”

By donating a gift to the Toys for Tots charity, that individual receives a 20% off discount at ASF. 

Police officers are located outside of the donation site at ASF on Saturdays and Sundays until Dec. 11 from 9 a.m-4 p.m. Officer Shawn Wong expressed his gratitude for the event and how he contributes.

“The toys are taken to Bridgeport and Bridgeport hospital…we don’t personally deliver the toys…but if a terminally ill child’s wish is to ride in a police car, we grant that wish,” Officer Wong said. “It’s all for a great cause.”