The holiday spirit could not be dampened by a little drizzle Saturday morning as Westport police started their annual holiday toy drive, a mission benefiting several area charities for children in need.
Organized by the Westport Police Union and Police Benevolent Association, the Toys for Tots program got rolling by the roadside in the parking lot of ASF Sports & Outdoors shop, 1560 Post Road East, and was scheduled to Sunday as well as Dec. 15-16 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. ASF supports the toy drive by providing the set-up space in their lot and offering 10 percent off purchases storewide.
Groups benefiting from the toy drive include local families in need through town Department of Human Services and the Interfaith Housing Association, Norwalk Community Health Center, the Carver Center of Norwalk, St. Vincent's Medical Center and St. Charles Urban Center of Bridgeport.
"We're collecting as many toys as we can to distribute to kids," said Police Officer Sean Kelley, who was helping collect donations at the site Saturday with daughter Renee, fellow officer Dave Librandi and Librandi's son Matthew.
As people pulled up with donations, the four accepted the toys with thanks and loaded them into the Police Department's mobile unit, a new addition being used for the toy drive for the first time.
"People are very generous and supportive of the cause and very appreciative of our personal efforts towards it," said Librandi. "It's a way for us to give back to the community."
As he spoke, Westporter Anthony Lofrisco Jr. stepped up with a cash donation, saying, "I wanted to show support and do the Christmas thing." Right behind him, with his SUV full of toys to donate, Westporter Nelson Seo said, "I've supported this for the last few years. The police do so much for the community."