Toy Drive: Monroe police officers bring in quite a haul for children in need

Volunteering at the Monroe Police Department's annual Stuff the Gazebo Toy Drive are, from left, officers Dominick Ebert and Francisco Jimenez, Theresa Oleyar, Officer Stacey Cascante, Lt. Michael Sweeney and First Selectman Terry Rooney.

MONROE, CT — When parents fight during domestic incidents that become violent, children suffer trauma, whether it’s physical or not. Many end up with one parent fleeing abuse as hard financial times lay ahead.

The Monroe Police Department conducted its annual Stuff the Gazebo Toy Drive Saturday to brighten the holidays for these children. The generous donations from residents will be delivered to The Center for Family Justice to benefit the families it serves.

On Saturday, police officers were accompanied by First Selectman Terry Rooney and Theresa Oleyar, a town resident who works for the nonprofit, while collecting toys in front of the gazebo on the Monroe Town Hall green.

Police Officer Stacey Cascante, left, accepts toys from Jessica and Rory Miller, of Monroe, and their three children, Kenzie, 7, Drew and Reece, both 4, during the Monroe Police Department’s Stuff the Gazebo Toy Drive in front of Town Hall Saturday.

Late that afternoon, Jessica and Rory Miller, of Monroe, and their three children, Kenzie, 7, Drew, 4, and Reece, 4, carried toys as they approached the officers.

“I think it’s great that they’re helping out the community,” Jessica said, before turning to her daughter and asking, “how do you feel about it Kenzie?”

“Good, because we’re helping other people,” she said. “I’m going to be a police officer. They help other people.”

Officer Stacey Cascante accepted the boxes and placed the toys in the back of a Monroe police truck.

Among the police officers volunteering for the toy drive were Lt. Michael Sweeney and officers Dominick Ebert and Francisco Jimenez.

Ebert gave Kenzie, Drew and Reece bracelets and toy badges, which Cascante helped to pin on their shirts.

Police officers collected toys from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. and by the late afternoon the back of the truck was filled with toys, which will be delivered to The Center for Family Justice, 753 Fairfield Ave, Bridgeport.

About CFJ

The mission of The Center for Family Justice is to break the cycle of domestic, sexual, and child abuse and violence by providing services that create hope, restore lives, and drive social change through education and community collaboration.

Its vision is to end domestic and sexual abuse and violence in our communities.

CFJ believes that:

  • Everyone should be treated with dignity and respect.
  • Collaboration with its clients, partners and communities is vital to achieve individualized choice, success, and empowerment.
  • Trust is essential for its work in building self-sufficient survivors.
  • Compassion and hope allow people to thrive and feel safe.
  • Community education, awareness and outreach are essential to drive and maintain social change and justice.

For information, visit CFJ’s website or call 203-334-6154. CFJ is located at 753 Fairfield Ave. in Bridgeport, and serves the towns of Bridgeport, Easton, Fairfield, Monroe, Stratford and Trumbull.

24/7 Hotline Numbers:

  • Domestic violence (203) 384-9559
  • Sexual abuse (203) 333-2233
  • Spanish (203) 568-8332

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