Marion police bring holiday cheer with annual toy drive

Dec 4, 2022

MARION — Santa Claus made a pit-stop at the Benjamin Cushing Community Center to grab a slice of pizza with the Marion Police Department during their annual “Fill a Cruiser” toy drive on Sunday, Dec. 5.

The Marion Police Department’s toy drive, now in its 10th year, is a “really nice community event,” said Police Chief Richard Nighelli. 

“We make sure everyone in need has a nice Christmas,” he said. The police department will donate collected toys to Justice Resource Institute, a foster care program based out of Berkley, and to “Marion families in need.”

This is the first in-person toy drive held by the department since the pandemic began, said Lauren Roberts, who works with the Marion Police Department as an administrative assistant and assistant records officer.

“I love seeing everyone in the community and seeing the kids,” said Roberts, as she served flatbread pizza provided by Brew Fish. 

And kids loved seeing the large table stocked with unwrapped toys that would soon go to families in need. Children ogled stuffed animals, Legos, building blocks and playsets that were brought in for the toy drive. 

Nighelli, who’s favorite childhood toy was a “remote control race car,” said that the best part of events like these is the “community engagement,” and “seeing the officers being able to interact with the community and vice-versa.”

Other children in attendance took their turn sitting on Santa’s lap and told him what they wanted for Christmas. 

Sam Crompton, 5, asked Santa for a Rubik’s Cube, and three-year-old Finnegan Grant made the responsible choice to ask Santa for a Mickey Mouse toothbrush.

“We thank all the community members who have donated to the cause,” said Nighelli. “And we’re appreciative to the officers who donated their time to the event.”