Summerside - To make it the most wonderful time of year for everyone, Summerside police and Island EMS collected donations, on Saturday, for the Salvation Army to distribute to Prince County families in need.
Summerside police Chief Dave Poirier climbed willingly into the back of his department’s paddy wagon at the Credit Union Place, for the fifth year, all in support of the Cops for Christmas initiative.
“We try to gather new toys, unwrapped of course, as well as sporting equipment that can be used by youth in the area. It’s just a little something to help out over Christmas, so everyone has a present under the tree,” said Constable Craig Murphy, spearheading the fundraising project this year.
Poirier won’t leave the van until it’s stocked with toys, thanks to donations from the public.
All donations go to the Summerside Salvation Army to distribute.
More than 300 families, with a genuine need, will receive the gifts.
Island EMS kicked off their afternoon fundraising project, all in support of the same cause, with two ambulances parked in front of the Summerside Walmart.
Mitchell Myers, a paramedic with Island EMS, thanked his colleague Mike MacKenzie, “The brains behind the operation.” And added, “It’s an overwhelming sensation when we deliver the toys. If we can donate five hours of our time on a weekend, it’s wonderful.”
Captain Dolores Abbot, of the Salvation Army church in Summerside, said the impact on the families that receive the toys is immeasurable.
“We have some people come to pick up their toys and tears are streaming down their face. They are so thankful because they really needed this help,” she said. “If we never had this fundraiser then some people may not have Christmas or, be put behind on paying bills."
She continued, “This is a blessing and we are very thankful that we can provide the needs here. I am also thankful for our volunteers like Reta, and our workers, because we cannot do this in a couple of hours. This takes weeks, and we support all Prince County."
Sacks filled with toys will be distributed on Monday, Dec. 18.
“There’s always a need. Sometimes people lose jobs, relationships end, and a lot of people feel embarrassed coming to ask for help. I say don’t feel embarrassed because anyone could fall into the same situation, and that’s why we are here,” said Dolores.
She continued, “We don’t know what tomorrow holds, and that’s why we support each other. It’s not about the Salvation Army, it’s about coming together with the community and working together as a team.”