Locals are helping keep Christmas alive another year with the Toys for Tots campaign, run by the Teamsters Local 25 union.
The metaphorical elves behind Santa’s good deeds, the union has spent the past 14 years collecting toys from dispatch stations in many communities and town organizations, helping to bring toys to children in need.
This year, the union will donate $60,000 of toys to charities from Braintree to Boston, a surprising number considering the state of the economy, said Bob Fabrizio, a business agent for the union.
“It’s what we did last year, so we always hope to meet or beat the previous year, but the economy is a lot worse off this year than in the past,” he said. “It’s been good. The toy drop-off and collections … started off slow, but then it picked up, and I think people are responding.”
After collecting the toys, the union traditionally has donated swaths of gifts to local charities that distribute dolls, games, and equipment to hundreds of South Shore children.
But this year, the organization has had even more work to do.
With donations in Boston at an all-time low, the union helped donate some of its collected toys to the city. “We brought a lot of toys to City Hall to help out the inner city kids,” Fabrizio said.
Charities such as the Home for Little Wanderers, the Christian Center in Braintree, and the Charlestown Community Center also receive support from the event.
However, none of it would be possible without the help from local communities, some of whom have really stepped up in recent times.
One notable community that has helped the organization is Hingham, Fabrizio said. Already, the union has done three or four pick-ups of toys from the town.
It’s a good deed the people at the dispatch station, where the toys for the town are collected, are proud of.
“People are generous here in Hingham,” said Joan Sullivan with the Hingham police and fire dispatch. “We get a big turnout, it’s been good.”
In addition to the success the toy drop-off box at the police station, other town organizations have fed into the effort.
Not only does the Department of Public Works aid in the effort, but the Linden Ponds retirment community has also helped contribute both this year and in the past.
At an event on Dec. 17, Linden Ponds residents collected over 300 toys for children in need - about 15 shopping carts full.
“Our residents here are very generous and always have been.They recognize this time of need now more than ever,” said Maureen Dewar, the community resources coordinator at Linden Ponds.
Hingham police officers attended to collect the toys, smiling as they stuffed box upon box of goodies into giant plastic bags for delivery.
According to Dewar, the fact that this charity goes to support local children is an important factor, and really helps the residents feel like they are making a difference in their communities.
“This goes to local charities, so it affects the communities around us,” Dewar said. “Giving is something that the residents love to do.”
The Hingham police station will continue to accept donations through Friday.