• 66°

BackPack Buddies, Upper Township FD partner for toy drive

HECLA — For four of the next five Saturdays the BackPack Buddies program from Campbell Chapel Church and Upper Township Fire Department will collect toys for needy children.

“This is the first year we have teamed up with Upper Township for a toy drive,” Jodie Hunt, BackPack Buddies coordinator, said. “(Upper Township Fire Department Chief) J.D. Pancake contacted us and ask to be involved and we think it’s going to be great.”

Last year BackPack Buddies partnered with three local schools for a toy drive and was able to provide new toys to 50 or 60 children for Christmas. With 215 students now in the BackPack Buddies program, however, Hunt said she felt the need to increase the effort in order to increase the return.

“Our goal is to help more this year than we did last year,” she said. “Sometimes children from families that weren’t always needy get overlooked. Kids who once had things but don’t anymore don’t get noticed as easily as kids who have always been less fortunate.”

All toys collected will go directly to children in the community, which is one reason Pancake cited for being eager to partner with BackPack Buddies.

“We’ve had toy drives in the past and we always try to get toys or raise money to buy toys any way we can,” he said. “We wanted to be sure all the toys collected will go straight to the children who need them, not just gathered up and dropped off at the city mission. I got no problem with toys going to the city mission, but when we can get toys in the hands of the kids directly it’s better for everyone involved.”

Drop-off time is noon-4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 15, 22, 29 and Dec. 13 at the Upper Township Fire Department at 3402 State Route 141 in Ironton. On Dec. 13, the final day to drop-off toys, from noon-2 p.m. will be cookies with Santa.

“We are asking for new toys only and it doesn’t matter if they cost $1 or $10,” Hunt said. “School districts are strict about what kinds of toys are given to kids.”

For more information, contact Hunt at 740-534-3550.