Photo by Elaine Rackley
Riverdale firefighters Patrick Gutierrez (left), Sgt. Randy Echols and Joseph Boom (right) loaded a Toys for Tots drop-off box with unwrapped toys.
RIVERDALE — The Riverdale Fire Department is collecting unwrapped gifts as part of its “Toys for Tots” campaign.
United States Marine Corps Reserve officer and Riverdale firefighter Patrick Gutierrez is spearheading the annual toy drive.
“This is an inaugural year for the Riverdale Fire Department to participate in Toys for Tots,” Gutierrez said. “I’ve done it for the past six years. Just so I can give back to the community.”
Gutierrez serves in the U.S. Marine Corps as a reservist. He said he has been with the corps for seven years and has worked with the North Atlanta branch of Toys for Tots for two years.
“That is who we are coordinating with right now,” he added.
The mission of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program is to collect new, unwrapped toys during November and December every year. They distribute the toys as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in the community in which the campaign is conducted, he said.
“Our goal is to deliver a message of hope to the less fortunate children by giving them new Christmas toys,” Gutierrez said. “The message is to encourage them in becoming responsible, productive, and patriotic citizens.”
There are 11 Toys for Tots drop boxes in Riverdale. People can drop off unwrapped toys at Riverdale Fire Station No. 2 on Taylor Road.
“We have them at all of the government complexes, the library and at the Walmart,” he said.
The Riverdale firefighters are scheduled to host a Toys for Tots Boot Drive at Super H grocery store on Highway 85 and Kroger grocery stores Nov. 19, 26 and 27. They will do it again Dec. 10, 11 and 12, Gutierrez added.