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Leftover toys from Cops for Tots to be shipped to Puerto Rico

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Monday, December 18, 2017

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Police officers enjoyed seeing children playing with their toys.
 

Jim Fair

Police officers enjoyed seeing children playing with their toys.

 



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Some of the stuffed animals were too large to put in a plastic bag.
 

Jim Fair

Some of the stuffed animals were too large to put in a plastic bag.

 



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Police enjoyed holding infants while a list of suggested toys were collected.
 

Jim Fair

Police enjoyed holding infants while a list of suggested toys were collected.

 

There are no leftover toys this year at the Cops for Tots program.

More than $30,000 of toys and financial donations made about 250 Greer children happy Saturday at the Cannon Centre, selecting their Christmas gifts with large plastic bags of toys – some too big to fit – and receiving their first bicycles.

Remaining toys, and there are a substantial amount, that have been stored in past years, will be shipped to Puerto Rico so children, whose homes and communities were obliterated by Hurricane Maria, will enjoy their most sacred Christmastime holiday – 3 Kings Day on January 6.

Pastor Joezel Alicea who is from Puerto Rico with family still there, ministers at Nouevo Comienzo, a network of churches home to Hispanics and Puerto Rican families. He is also one of the chaplains to the GPD.

“Pastor Alicea came to us (GPD) asking for some help for the children of Puerto Rico,” Lieutenant Patrick Fortenberry said. “Chief (Matt) Hamby and the rest of the staff liked the idea.”

Fortenberry said typically the remaining toys are stored for the next year’s Cops for Tops. “This year we have had a tremendous outpouring of support from citizens and businesses giving back more.”

The Greer Police Department’s signature relationship building event has grown annually. Leftover toys were shared with other agencies in the past. That need has lessened in the past years with a growing economy.

“Donating left over toys is a new, awesome thing for us to do,” Hamby said. “Christmas gifts is the last thing on people’s minds in that situation, especially those in poverty.”           

“Last year when Maria hit it did a lot of damage and to the infrastructure, which wasn’t that good in the first place,” Alicea said. “I felt for Puerto Rico and through churches we have tried to help people.”

Three Kings Day, or Epiphany, is one of the most important holidays on the Puerto Rican calendar. Traditionally, the island, and most of the Latin world, marked the eve of Jan. 6 as the day to exchange presents rather than Dec 25.

Alicea, growing a beard for the occasion, will help distribute the toys when he returns to Puerto Rico in two weeks.

The toys will be boxed and loaded in a cargo container and flown to Puerto Rico.

 

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