CRANBURY: Toys for Tots drive helps spread the holiday cheer

By Amy Batista, Special Writer
CRANBURY –The local police department teamed up with a local resident and the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots annual campaign to provide toys as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in the community.
The Cranbury Township Police Fraternal Order of Police (F.O.P.) Lodge No. 68 collected more than $500 in new unopened toys.
“The Cranbury Toys for Tots was started 10 years ago by a local resident Kevin McConnel, who hosts the event at his residence the night before Thanksgiving every year,” said F.O.P. President Michael Cipriano in an email on Monday.
He said that the F.O.P has participated every year.
“We got involved because we normally just had a drop-off at our police headquarters and when Mr. McConnel started to host, we thought it would be a great way to show the community another way that we can give back,” he said.
For Officer Cipriano, the highlight of the evening was the dropping off of bags of toys.
“We also enjoy talking with all the residents and enjoying the evening,” he said. “We did have a member who was on duty attend the event, but some of us like Sgt. Doug Mayer and myself attended off duty, and it gives the residents a chance to see us out of uniform.”
Officer Jeff Rapach, who was on duty, also attended, said Officer Cipriano.
The donations were picked up on Nov. 25 by Marine Corps Reserve.
“It’s always a very positive reflection on the FOP and the department,” said Officer Cipriano.
The mission of the Toys for Tots program is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in the community in which the campaign is conducted, according to its website.