By Katy Plante
Atlantic News, Thursday, November 21, 2002
the Hampton Fire Department took a test drive to Seabrook
Wal-Mart earlier this week in preparation for the Seacoast Toy
Bank "Stuff the Bus" event Nov. 30.
[Atlantic News Photo by Nancy Rineman]
SEACOAST — It's that time of the year again... 'tis the sea son of gift-giving, and who else other than the neighboring Seacoast Area Fire Departments are better at it.
The annual Seacoast Area Firefighters Toy Bank is up and running again for the holiday season. For the past.six years, ten local Fire Departments from around the seacoast have collaborated together to make sure every child's Christmas is a merry one.
This year's toy drive promises to be to be even bigger and better than last year's with the new addition of the Stuff the Bus Event that will be held on November 30, 2002 from 10:00AM to 2:00PM at five area seacoast Wal-Mart Stores. Donations of new unwrapped toys, new clothes, or nonperishable food items will be able to he dropped off to the buses in the Wal-Mart parking lots. Contributions to the event will help reach the firefighter's goal of filling five buses in four hours, and will help to provide a brighter holiday season to children around the seacoast.
Captain Russell "Rusty" Bridle of the Hampton Fire Department, enthusiastically reports that the "Stuff The Bus" Event will be the highlight of this year's affair. Hampton residences will find their Firefighters along side Seabrook's firefighters manning the Wal-Mart in Seabrook, where Hampton's own, Tom Higgins has donated a trolley car to serve as the "bus" for stuffing.
Although the Seacoast Area Firefighters Toy Bank may he fairly new, this is Hampton's twenty-fourth year. Over the years, the Hampton Toy Bank program alone, as of last year, were able to provide for 250 children over the holiday season.
But the gift-giving does not end with the illuminated smiles of just children, the Hampton fire department also makes sure that the elderly of the Hampton are not neglected. Occupants in the Rockingham County Nursing home are all bestowed stuffed animals in reverence to the holidays. The Hampton Fire Department makes sure that no member of the community is forgotten at Christmastime.
To be certain that members of the seacoast locale are not overlooked, donations of new unwrapped toys can be dropped off in boxes at selected major businesses around the seacoast, or at the Hampton Fire Departments, either Station #1 (64 Ashworth Ave.) or Station #2 (140 Winnacunnet Rd). Monetary contributions are also welcomed and can be made to: Firefighters Toy Bank, % Hampton Fire Department, 64 Ashworth Ave, Hampton, NH 03842. For any assistance that can be contributed to the organization please contact: Rusty Bridle, Jim Correll, Matt Cray, Buck Frost, Mike Brillard, or Steve Benotti @ 926-3316, or Rusty Bridle @ 926-8694.