By: Mike Rhodes—
Muncie, Indiana—During the holiday season, many of the City of Muncie’s public safety officials kick-into high gear in order to bring a little holiday cheer to underprivileged children around the area.
Toys For Tots
In early November, the familiar Toys for Tots collection boxes began to spring up inside businesses around town. For 2018, around 65 boxes have been distributed throughout the community. Families who wanted to participate in the Toys for Tots program were first screened by staff at the Salvation Army to see if they qualified. Once a family was screened and approved, the Toys For Tots program gave the family a call to set an appointment to come to the Toys For Tots office for toy selection. Parents could then select any toys they liked from the gently used toy selection area. Toys For Tots volunteers also made selections from the new toy selection area.
Firefighter Daniel Powell volunteers to work in the Toys For Tots office helping to distribute toys. He said, “The Salvation Army has stopped taking applications for this year. However, if a family still needs assistance for this year, and they are on government assistance, they should call the Toys for Tots program. (765)-729-3029. The family won’t get as many toys as they normally would, so we try to encourage the family to signup and go through the screening process through the Salvation Army next year. That way, they can receive more toys.”
Anyone wanting to donate gently used toys (or make a financial donation) can do so anytime during the year at any Muncie fire station. All proceeds and toys stay in Delaware County. Volunteers are always needed to repair and clean toys. Visit the MFD Toys For Tots on Facebook.
Heroes and Helpers
According to Michael Mueller, student assistance coordinator at MCHS, Chuck Hensley started the local Heroes and Helpers program 26 years ago. Heroes and Helpers is an event held at the Muncie Target to provide a shopping experience and gifts to 160 children on December 8. (The Salvation Army screens families for this program as well.) In addition, local schools also get to select 5 children from each elementary, middle school, and high school to participate.
The “heroes” of the Heroes and Helpers program include local police departments, fire departments, EMS, Ball State Police, jailers, and students with the Muncie Central High School JROTC program. The kids get to go shopping with these local public safety heroes and pick out their favorite toys or clothes.
Mueller says the program is always a hit with parents. “The response is great; it really is,” he said. “For whatever reason, some families cannot provide a nice Christmas for their kids, so we help out with that. The kids love it. Not only do they get some gifts, but they really enjoy hanging out with the police officers and other public safety officials. The interaction is really good. Sometimes we’ve even seen heroes who will get together and pitch in with some of their own money, if a child goes over their $100.00 gift limit.”
Cops and Kids
Muncie Crime Stoppers had their Cops and Kids at Wal-Mart South on December 1st. Local public safety officials helped 50 families get Christmas presents. Two city council members, Muncie Police, Delaware County Sheriff’s Office, Ball State Police, Albany Police, Muncie Fire Department, and Muncie Central High School JROTC members were there to help the families shop. Each child was given a $100.00 gift card to buy Christmas presents.
25th Anniversary of the Annual Tiny Adams Memorial Christmas Eve Event
The Muncie Fire Department will host the 25th Annual Tiny Adams Memorial Christmas Event for local children on Christmas Eve, from 11am to 5pm at the downtown fire station #1 at 421 East Jackson Street.
Every child that attends will receive a FREE picture with Santa, hot chocolate and cookies, a candy cane, and a gift. 40-50 brand new bicycles that have been donated by the fire fighters will be given away to good little girls and boys. The annual event usually sees 600 to 800 children visit with Santa and his helpers. The event is FREE for the community. Santa will arrive on a fire truck at 11am.
Eddie Bell, Chief of the Muncie Fire Department said, “This is the 25th anniversary of our event. Every Christmas Eve from 11am-5pm, Santa stops by the fire station for FREE pictures with every child that wants to come. The kids get a gift, some treats and hot chocolate. Every year, we have hundreds of kids and parents who come, just to enjoy the environment. It’s just a great event and one we are very proud of.”
Random Police Giveaways While On Patrol
Very soon, Muncie Police Officers who are out-and-about on patrol will giveaway random gifts and toys they will be carrying in their vehicles. You might even get lucky and catch Santa riding in a police car.
So be good for goodness sake!