Firehouse toy drive overflows with generosity

Members of the Saranac Lake area community show up to the Saranac Lake firehouse Saturday bearing gifts for local children, to be distributed by local charity group Holiday Helpers. (Photo provided — Eva Stinson)
As part of the holiday cheer, SLVFD members decorate their station. Here Fire Captain Doug Peck places decorations above the third bay doors. (Photo provided — Eva Stinson)
State Forest Ranger Lt. Julie Harjung drops off Toys for Holiday Helpers Saturday at the Saranac Lake firehouse. (Photo provided — Eva Stinson)
Holiday Helpers Co-Chair Patti Ploof, left, receives donations from Officer Reyanin Peck on behalf of the Saranac Lake Police Department. (Photo provided — Eva Stinson)
New York State Police Troop B Commander Maj. John Tibbitts Jr., left, and Trooper James D’Ambro drop off toys donated by the employees of Troop B. (Photo provided — Eva Stinson)
SLVFD members load donated toys to rescue trucks that will take them to Holiday Helpers’ distribution center Saturday. (Photo provided — Eva Stinson)

SARANAC LAKE — It took three trucks to move all the donated children’s gifts.

That’s how successful the Saranac Lake Volunteer Fire Department’s annual toy drive was Saturday. The presents poured into the firehouse in the four hours between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., piling up around a lit Christmas tree placed in between fire trucks. The gifts all went to Holiday Helpers, which distributes them to local children in need.

Volunteers had removed cots and equipment from two rescue trucks to make room to haul the presents, but they didn’t all fit. A volunteer’s personal pickup truck had to be used as well to take the gifts over to Holiday Helpers distribution center at North Star Industries.

“Once again the community has come together to ensure 203 children from 96 families will have a very merry Christmas indeed,” said Patti Ploof, who co-chairs Holiday Helpers along with Dawn Rogers. “From the littlest elves to the adult groups — it’s so great to see everyone bringing in toys to help a child in need. We are forever grateful to the SLVFD for hosting this toy drive. What an amazing group — not only for making us feel so welcome and feeding us (Thanks Eva Stinson), but all the lifting and moving of the toys from the firehouse to our distribution site. Holiday Helpers only exists because of our community’s generosity!”