OXFORD — The Oxford Police Department kicked off its annual toy drive on Wednesday, November 20, with Resident Trooper Sgt. Robert Boroski leading the charge. The campaign began about 11 years ago to aid families in need in Oxford and surrounding towns, Sgt. Boroski told Voices. He said he’s been working closely with former Oxford resident Anna Rycenga of Fairfield and Denise Randall, administrative secretary in the Conservation/Inland Wetlands office.
Every year the local police partner with and participate in the Westchester Corvette Club Toy for Tots Drive, which is scheduled at 9 a.m. Sunday, December 1. The state police will escort the corvette club and other participants from Danbury Fair Mall to the Wyndham Hotel in Southbury.
All cars will be carrying unwrapped toys that have been collected so far. Sgt. Boroski said about 300 participants come out every year.
“I’ve already spoken to Oxford’s superintendent and he will be placing boxes at all the schools to collect toys,” said Sgt. Boroski.
Ms. Rycenga told Voices the local toy drive partners with other organizations to bring in more toys, including the Bridgeport Rescue Mission, Spooner House in Shelton and TEAM, Inc.
In Oxford alone, Ms. Randall said, the effort helps 60 to 70 families, as well as an additional 100 families outside of Oxford. including families in Waterbury and Derby.
Sgt. Boroski said organizers put together a file on a child in need, then create package for that child based on the profile. He added that Oxford, Southbury, Bridgewater, Roxbury, New Fairfield, Sherman are the resident trooper towns the effort covers.
“We want to make sure no one is left out,” said Ms. Rycenga.
Sgt. Boroski said he wants to encourage everyone to do what he or she can this holiday season so no child goes without a gift.
He added many leftover toys are given to domestic shelters, Danbury Hospital’s children’s ward and to the state Department of Children and Families.
Ms. Randall told Voices the State Police Toy Drive assists other police barracks if not enough toys were donated in certain areas. She said in the previous years, extra toys have been given to Bridgeport’s police barracks to help with that toy campaign.
Ms. Rycenga noted that about 5,000 families in Connecticut have received assistance through the toy campaign.
She told Voices she grew up poor and recalled police officers arriving to their home one Christmas with gifts for her and her family. She called it a blessing and planned to give back.
“It’s truly a blessing to give back,” said Ms. Rycenga. “It almost feels like it has all come full circle.”