The desire to serve extends beyond firefighting for members of Vigilant Hose Co. That’s why they set aside a portion of the proceeds from their weekly bingo games to benefit the less fortunate in the Shippensburg community.
This year, those funds went to the Toys for Tots drive sponsored by the Landis-McCleaf Detachment of the Marine Corps League in Chambersburg. Vigilant Hose, joined by Shippensburg Area EMS, recently donated more than $2,500 worth of toys to the Marine Corps League’s efforts.
Vigilant filled two pickups with bikes, games, dolls, stuffed animals and more for delivery to Toys for Tots the day after Thanksgiving. It purchased toys with funds designated for community service projects, and received additional items donated by its volunteers and Shippensburg EMS staff.
“We were approached by the Marine Corps League this year about participating in Toys for Tots, and we thought that would be a great way to support the community,” remarked Carolyn Kerns, recording secretary and fund-raising committee member at Vigilant.
Launched in 1947, Toys for Tots is a program of the U.S. Marine Corps and the Marine Corps League through which new toys are collected each fall to be given at the holidays to children in need. Last year, Toys for Tots received nearly 16.8 million toys, benefiting more than 7 million children nationwide.
The need has never been greater, according to Landis-McCleaf Detachment member Chad Craig, who volunteers with Toys for Tots. “We have 900 area families this year, including in Shippensburg, who meet our criteria for assistance. That’s 2,300 children who would not have gifts under the tree at Christmas,” he said.
Throughout the year, Vigilant sets aside funds from its weekly bingo proceeds to assist other non-profit groups or individuals in need. “Even though we also are a non-profit organization, we feel a responsibility to support others in the community through more than just the fire service,” Kerns said. “We were happy to join in the Toys for Tots project this year and help make the holidays a little better for families in need.”
“They did a terrific job for us,” Craig said. “It’s the groups like Vigilant and the people who are generous enough to buy a new toy and drop it in one of our collection boxes who make our project a success.”