Toy Drive showed great generosity

State Trooper James D’Ambro concedes to Found Caravan Corvette Club member Joanne Bevilacqua that her group donated more Christmas gifts than his in the Saranac Lake Volunteer Fire Department Toy Drive for Holiday Helpers Nov. 25 at the firehouse. (Photo provided — Patti Ploof)

To the editor:

The Holiday Helpers program would like to thank our community for their help this Christmas season. The Saranac Lake Volunteer Fire Department kicked off the festivities with their annual Toy Drive — and what a great day it was! These wonderful volunteers allowed us to take over their firehouse and even fed us! Before the 10 a.m. start, Joanne and Beef Bevilacqua had dropped off three truckloads and a Jeep full of amazing toys from the Found Caravan Corvette Club. New York state troopers then dropped by with full cruisers of toys, Department of Environmental Conservation rangers came loaded, Saranac Lake village police donated, the Saranac Lake Volunteer Rescue Squad made several trips with toys, the U.S. post office had a truck full, and many Saranac Lake residents, young and old, popped by with massive amounts of toys. At the end of the day, there were two ambulances and two pickup trucks filled with toys for area children. One of our favorite parts of the day — New York State Trooper James D’Ambro conceding to Found Caravan Corvette Club member Joanne Bevilacqua — friendly rivalry to make sure all kids in the Saranac Lake area had toys for the holidays.

So many organizations contribute to our program: Kiwanis Club, Paul Smiths-Gabriels Volunteer Fire Department, Romano’s, Nickels Redemption, Bionique, and many individual donations were received as well. It truly is impossible to name them all — thank-you letters are on their way!

We would like to recognize Lakeview Deli, as they once again provided us with a much-needed lunch on distribution day. The VanAnden family truly cannot know how much it means to us to take a little break on this very hectic day to relax and talk to our many volunteers. We would be remiss to not mention North Star Industries, which allow us to take over their building for weeks to use as our distribution center. They also pick up gifts left at the Best Western — much thanks to Jim Murnane and staff for allowing us to use their lobby as a drop-off location.

This year, we provided clothing and toys to 210 area children, with 105 families receiving food baskets. We are forever grateful to our community and its residents for their continued support of the Holiday Helpers program. We are truly blessed to live in such a caring community.

Dawn Rogers

Patti Ploof

Holiday Helpers co-chairs

Saranac Lake