A holiday giveaway, sponsored by First Responders, Childrens’ Foundation, Jazwares and Sawyer Motors, originally planned for a specific list of needy families was open to the public on Sunday, December 11 at the Greco Senior Center in Saugerties.
Organizers said about 400 families had signed up, representing about 1,000 children, but many more, perhaps as many as 1,000 adults, also turned up. Many local first responders — police, firefighters, EMTs were present to see how their efforts worked out and to help supervise. Police Chief Joseph Sinagra said the CSX Railroad Police should be recognized among the police agencies involved as they are big contributors toward the toy drive.
Jillian Crane, the president and CEO of the First Responders Children’s Foundation, said she had been at a toy distribution in Lancaster Pennsylvania the day before. “They had a very big toy giveaway at the firehouse,” she said. The organization sponsors giveaways in some 50 cities, she said. “Human engagement with our first responders is the aim,” Crane said. “relationship building is important.”
The huge layout of goods and decoration of the Senior Center was done over three days this year, said Town of Saugerties Director of Buildings and Grounds Greg Chorvas. In previous years, he recalled the volunteers came in on the morning of the event, and rushed to get everything ready in three or four hours. This year’s giveaway was less stressful, he said.