Greater than 100 vehicles lined up in entrance of Newton Metropolis Corridor on Tuesday night time to donate their presents for the Newton Police Division’s annual vacation reward drive, “Stuff A Cruiser,” in accordance with Newton Neighborhood Pleasure President Howard Sholkin. In lieu of collaborating within the standard in-person festivities that Newton sometimes holds this time of 12 months, households drove by means of a show of lights, Christmas music, and volunteers carrying vacation costumes.
Sponsored by The Village Financial institution in addition to Newton Neighborhood Pleasure and Newton Parks, Recreation and Tradition, the reward drive and vacation celebration collected presents for the youngsters of Newton, starting from new child to 10 years previous, in accordance with Sholkin. Households may additionally decide to donate a grocery retailer reward card to help Newton meals pantries. Households obtained t-shirts with the Newton Neighborhood Pleasure emblem and glow sticks in trade for his or her acts of charity.
The Newton Division of Cultural Improvement strung lights across the bushes in entrance of Metropolis Corridor, making a winter wonderland for the occasion goers. Whereas ready for his or her presents to be collected, households watched volunteers dancing in snowman costumes and holiday-themed puppets waving excessive above their vehicles. Mayor Ruthanne Fuller greeted attendees.
Other than its drive-thru modality, this 12 months’s drive was additionally completely different from different years for the leisure it provided.
“Normally it’s a live performance inside Metropolis Corridor with a youngsters’s entertainer, after which all of us come exterior and the lights go on and rejoice that means,” Paula Gannon, the director of cultural improvement for the Metropolis of Newton, mentioned.
However as a result of COVID-19 pandemic, Gannon mentioned that this sizable celebration was now not possible. To be able to adjust to the social-distancing laws, the sponsors needed to devise a protected but enjoyable solution to gather donations this vacation season.
“The Division of Cultural Improvement within the Metropolis of Newton, got here up with the thought of getting a drive-thru so individuals stayed of their vehicles,” Sholkin mentioned.
Due to these adjustments, volunteers have been not sure of whether or not there could be an enormous turn-out for the occasion, Gannon mentioned, however Tuesday’s attendance surpassed their expectations.
Gannon mentioned that the occasion was alleged to final from 5:30 p.m. to six:00 p.m., however vehicles began exhibiting up at 5:20 p.m. and didn’t cease coming to donate presents till 6:20 p.m.
Volunteers normally place donated presents right into a police cruiser to be taken again to the station and sorted, however the excessive quantity of donations rendered this tough.
“[The driver] barely had room to take a seat within the automotive to drive it again to the station, as a result of it was so overflowing,” Gannon mentioned.
In earlier years, the Division of Cultural Improvement sometimes runs a New Yr’s Eve meals pantry drive at Metropolis Corridor to gather reward card donations, however as a result of this occasion was canceled as a result of pandemic, the residents of Newton stepped up and dropped off their reward card donations at Tuesday’s drive.
“We had a basket filled with reward playing cards for the meals pantries, they usually’ll be separated out and distributed between our new pantries within the subsequent couple of days,” Gannon mentioned.
If households have been unable to attend the drive-thru, they nonetheless have the chance to assist the trigger. Households can drop off unwrapped toys at any Newton department of The Village Financial institution by means of Dec. 15, and might go away reward card donations on the Mayor’s Workplace in Newton Metropolis Corridor.
Gannon mentioned that members’ generosity on the reward drive demonstrated the spirit of Newton.
“You realize we stay in one of the best metropolis,” Gannon mentioned. “It’s a tricky time, however as we all the time say, we’re going to get by means of this pandemic, and we all know we’re in it collectively, so #Newtontogether. That’s our little mantra these previous few months, and Tuesday night time was an ideal instance of that.”
Featured Picture by Josie McNeill / Heights editor