Monroe police collect hundreds of toys for children impacted by abuse

During last year's fundraiser Monroe police officers, back row Seth Twohill, Stacy Cascante and Dominick Ebert, and front, from left, Omar Wahib, Lt. Michael Sweeney and Michael Panza volunteer for the Stuff the Gazebo Toy Drive at the town gazebo. It's happening again this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

MONROE, CT — Domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse puts children in a dark place, but those impacted in Fairfield County will have their spirits brightened at Christmastime thanks to the Monroe Police Department’s annual toy drive.

On Saturday, officers collected hundreds of toy donations at the gazebo in front of Monroe Town Hall and delivered the holiday gifts to The Center for Family Justice, which will distribute it to children of the families it serves.

Debra Greenwood, left, president and CEO of The Center for Family Justice, accepts a delivery of toys from Officer Michael Panza, Lt. Michael Sweeney and Det. Kyle Stevens.

“We are beyond thankful for the incredible Toy Drive organized by the Monroe Police Department this past Saturday, December 10th at the Monroe Gazebo,” Debra Greenwood, president and CEO of CFJ, wrote in an email. “Hundreds of toys were just delivered by the officers and we’re overwhelmed with excitement for our children.”

“As a Monroe resident, I couldn’t feel prouder to live in such a warm, caring and supportive town,” Greenwood said. “Please know how much we appreciate the work each of you do day in and day out.”

She also thanked police in a Facebook post, on behalf of CFJ and its board of directors. In the post, Greenwood expressed her gratitude to all of the individuals, families, residents and civic groups in town who bought toys for the drive.

Santa makes an appearance at the Stuff the Gazebo Toy Drive.

CFJ serves clients in Monroe, Easton, Trumbull, Fairfield, Bridgeport and Stratford by providing safe houses, 24/7 crisis hotlines, free services and community education. The center works closely with area police departments, social services and the court system.

Saturday marked the Monroe Police Department’s second annual Stuff the Gazebo Toy Drive.

“We have a good relationship with The Center for Family Justice,” Police Chief Keith White said Tuesday. “They have provided our citizens with valuable resources for many years and it’s nice, once a year, for our department to be able to give back to the center.”

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