Toys for Tots drive smashes record

Thanks are in order to the citizens of Wilton for their record-smashing efforts to bring Christmas joy to poor children in the area, according to Wilton Fire Department Capt. Brian Elliott, who leads the Toys for Tots drive each year on behalf of the Marine Corps Reserve.

More than 1,200 individual toys were collected this season, eclipsing the 1,000-toy mark set during the past couple of years, Elliott said Dec. 22.

What put the campaign over the top this year was the police department’s Stuff-A-Cruiser event, which came on Sunday, Dec. 17, outside The Toy Chest in Wilton Center, Elliott said.

“We did awesome at Stuff-A-Cruiser,” he said. In particular, Wilton football players came with two Chevrolet Suburbans loaded with toys, collected at their annual banquet, and Wilton Martial Arts brought toys.

“The Marines are sure they can find these toys happy homes,” Elliott said.

It indeed is one of the better years as far as collecting toys goes, said Henry Norley Jr., area chairman for Northwest Fairfield County’s Marine Corps Reserve. He is based in Ridgefield.

“Wilton was really supportive. The fire department and the police department were just great,” Norley said, adding that the regional organization collected more than 32,000 toys.

The children who receive them are suggested by local social services departments as well as churches.

“We keep the toys here in Fairfield County,” Norley said, saying that destinations include families in Norwalk, Wilton, Ridgefield, and Danbury.