WPRI 12 receives surprisingly large ‘Toys for Tots’ donation

Courtesy: Sean Siciliano (WPRI-12)

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Alert Ambulance Services out of Fall River must be avid Eyewitness News viewers because they came to the station Saturday with an ambulance full of toys for Toys for Tots!

WPRI 12, Fox Providence, and the Rhode Show have teamed up with Cardi’s Furniture, and set up “Toys for Tots” donation centers. The one at our studios at 25 Catamore Boulevard in East Providence will run through Dec. 22. You can also drop off toys at any Cardi’s furniture or mattress store until Christmas Eve.

Eyewitness News has spread the word on air and online since the donation drive began earlier this month, and the first load of toys and games have already been picked up.

After Saturday’s donation by Alert Ambulance, from a month-long collection, there were so many gifts they couldn’t all fit under the Eyewitness News Christmas tree at the East Providence studio.

“The way that we worked it, is you can donate $10 or bring a toy in,” says Robert Araujo, Vice President of Operations for Alert Ambulance Services.

“This is all solely from employees, straight out of employees pockets and basically any cash that remained, we went out and purchased additional toys, but a lot of these toys were just straight donated by the employees themselves.”

Araujo says Alert Ambulance has been doing their own toy drive for years out of western Massachusetts, but they now have volunteers in the Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts area.

“It was so great to be able to do this time of year and help out so many kids and families that just don’t have this sort of thing,” says Araujo.

Even the children of Alert EMT’s came along for the ride in rescue vehicles. Some of the kids even called themselves “kid Santas,” while giving to families they will never meet.

The gifts collected during the WPRI 12 “Toys for Tots” annual drive will go to 40,000 kids in the Rhode Island area.

U.S. Marines collected the first donations from the station. They say 80,000 gifts have already come into “Toys for Tots” centers in this area, and organizers hope to add another 20,000 to that count by Christmas.

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