WAYNE COUNTY—Members of the Wayne County Sheriff's Department held another successful Cram the Cruiser toy drive last week on Black Friday, pulling in more toys this year than any other they've done so far.
“It gets better and better every year,” said Sheriff Mark Steelman, reporting this year's success to the Wayne County Board of Commissioners at Thursday's business meeting.
Steelman's crew deployed three vehicles this year, two cruisers and an inmate transport van, stationing one each at Walmart and the CVS stores in Hamlin and Honesdale.
In the span of six hours, Black Friday shoppers donated so many new toys for children as young as newborn and as old as 16, that the sea of black bags used to store them filled nearly half the floor space in the Commissioners' office.
“We want to thank the community for the overwhelming support,” said Steelman.
Toys collected were turned over to the Wayne County Children's Christmas Bureau (WCCCB) for distribution on December 9, starting at 9 a.m. from the Park Street Complex.
Rick Hnatko of the Christmas Bureau explained this year's Cram the Cruiser donations would enrich the Christmases of around 145 families and 330 children.
“A contribution like this goes a long way to plussing up those gifts that were applied for,” said Hnatko.
He further explained the Bureau's main goal and use for the bulk of its funding is to provide a new set of clothing for children in need on Christmas morning.
“That was really how it started,” he said of the Bureau. “...It started with clothes.”
Hnatko added that, any remaining funding goes toward purchase of small toys and gifts to accompany the clothing.
“So this kind of contribution is amazing,” he added, explaining it will go a long way to provide clothing and gifts for this year's recipients.
The WCCCB has been providing such services to families for 35 years.
Rozalyn Burke, Wayne County Children and Youth Services (CYS) Administrator explained that the WCCCB “...started with Wayne County Children and Youth, and then it went to the Honesdale Area Jaycees and then it became its own 501c3.”
It was noted from the Gallery that the Chamber of Commerce had a hand in steering the organization for some time as well.
The Commissioners thanked Steelman and all members of the Wayne County Sheriff's Department and greater community who came together to make the 2018 Cram the Cruiser Christmas toy drive a success.