By Joe Noga, Pittsburg Morning Sun (Kansas)
The Frontenac Police Department has distributed gifts locally to children and needy families in Frontenac for several years through the Toys for Tots program.
Anyone wishing to contribute to the program may either purchase a toy or donate money to the program. Toys and cash donations should be dropped off at the police department, 317 E. McKay. Donations will be accepted until Dec. 20.
Randy Flora, Frontenac Deputy Police Chief, said the program, which is in its 13th year, is always successful.
He said that they helped about 25 families last year thanks to the generosity of the people of Frontenac.
"Our community has always been supportive of this program," Flora said. "We normally have had enough to go around - and if we don't - there are always a couple dependable people in Frontenac who will help us out."
Toys should be new and unopened. Other items such as coats and other pieces of clothing would best be donated to other programs. Money donated will be used to help those in need as well.
Flora said he would prefer not to receive any stuffed animals.
"In the past, we've just received so many it was almost too much," he said. "In the past, we've kept them for domestic violence, car accidents, or if we bring kids into the office. But we have loads of them."
Flora said they prefer girls' and boys' toys from infant through the teenage years.
"And they can donate cash or gift certificates from area stores if they want," he said. "Sometimes when we find families, we ask them what the children want and then go purchase the toys for the kids. If we do have the funds, we can go shop for them."
Flora said at other times they use the cash to buy coats or other clothing for children if there is a need. He said officers will also put together food baskets with the money if there is a need in the community.
He said donated items are mainly used for Frontenac residents and students of the Frontenac school system.
"Sometimes we get contacted by local churches that are short. If we can help them out we will," he said. "But it is mainly for local people."
Flora said that they helped about 25 families last year. If anyone thinks they might meet the criteria, Flora said all they need to do is contact him at the police department.
"Also, if anyone knows anyone that needs help and is not willing to come forward, if they would give us their names we would contact them," he said.
Anyone wishing additional information may call 231-9216.