Weekend set to be a winter wonderland in Bernardston

  • Members of the Bernardston Police and Fire departments stand proudly with toys collected during the 2018 toy drive. This year’s toy drive will be held Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon at the United Church of Bernardston. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 12/6/2019 11:42:08 AM

BERNARDSTON — The annual toy drive organized by the Bernardston Police and Fire departments has already received enough toys to fill one police cruiser ahead of the main day of donations.

On Saturday, members of both departments will be at the United Church of Bernardston, 58 Church St., from 8 a.m. to noon to collect donated toys. The drive is spearheaded in part by the Oak Ridge Marine Corps league and Bernardston Kiwanis Club. Those who attend can also enjoy a free Kiwanis Club pancake breakfast, held from 8 to 10:30 a.m.

“One cruiser is already filled up,” Bernardston Police Chief James Palmeri said on Wednesday. “We usually end up filling three cruisers and a fire truck.”

Palmeri has been with the Bernardston Department for 10 years, approximately the life of the toy drive. He has seen the toy drive grow as residents from across Franklin County come to donate new, unwrapped toys each year.

“It’s always been successful,” Palmeri said.

The toy drive benefits families in the Franklin County area through Toys for Tots. The toys are for ages up to 17 years old — everything from stuffed animals to basketballs to board games. Palmeri said they even received a bicycle one year.

The toys are loaded into police cruisers and a fire truck as a traditional way to showcase the large collection.

The event will be held rain, snow or shine. Palmeri joked that the department is even hoping for snow, as one snowy day a few years ago saw the biggest collection of toys to date.

“Strangely, the snow may help put people in the giving mood,” he said.

Inside the church, the pancake breakfast will include sausage, bacon, juice, coffee and, of course, pancakes.

“Just stop by and enjoy the food and company,” said Bernardston Kiwanis Club member Dan Devine.

While most of the toys will be donated during the four-hour window on Saturday, the Bernardston Police Department will still accept toys at the station in the days following the drive. Cash donations are also accepted. Anyone still wishing to donate can contact the Bernardston Police Department at 413-648-9208.

Winter Kids Fun Day on Sunday

On Sunday, the Bernardston Kiwanis Club will host its “Winter Kids Fun Day” from noon to 3 p.m at Stoney B Acres on Shaw Road. The event has been “snowed out” the last couple of years and the club is excited to bring it back.

Later Sunday evening, at 6 p.m., the annual holiday tree lighting will kick off the Christmas season. Santa Claus will stop by on a horse-drawn wagon, and attendees can enjoy cookies and hot chocolate.

The Bernardston Kiwanis Club thanks everyone who has helped organize community events, from the Winter Kids Fun Day to pizza parties for the winning entry for Scarecrow in the Park.

“We couldn’t do what we do without all the help we get from all of the people and businesses outside of the club,” Devine said.

Zack DeLuca can be reached at zdeluca@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 264.


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