Members of the Woonsocket Police Department joined the Auger family at their home at 329 Wood Ave. Sunday evening to collect toys for the department's annual toy drive benefiting under privileged local children. The Augers hold the annual drive in the memory of Woonsocket Police Dispatcher Ron Auger, who died in 2009 after an illness. Ron had helped the police collect toys and his family fills the bed of his truck during the collection to continue that tradition. Ron's sister, Christine Arel said the family was able to fill the truck bed for four runs to the Police Station last year and hoped to get as much support from local residents on Sunday. â€śIt is awesome how the people stop by every year to drop off toys,â€ť Arel said. â€śRon would love it.â€ť
Det. Sgt. John Scully, who is running the drive this year with the help of Det. Sgt. Kevin Greenough, said he too expected a good result from the Auger collection but added more toys are still needed to meet the drive's distribution goals.
â€śWithout Walmart as a pick up spot again this year it is very difficult to get the large number of toys we need,â€ť Scully said.
There is still another full week of collecting ahead and Scully said he his volunteers will be starting work at the station on Monday and Tuesday to get the gifts already received organized.
A number of family members of the police department members were also helping out and Scully said he saw several retired former police officers stopping by on Sunday with gifts for the kids.
Retired Commander Marcel Beausoliel was found chatting with Police Chief Thomas S. Carey at the collection and long time drive organizer, retired Det. Sgt. Shawn Kerrigan also stopped by to drop off toys.
Carey praised Scully and his volunteers for keeping the drive going each year. â€śIt's a great initiative and it is really meaningful to a lot of kids who wouldn't have a nice holiday otherwise,â€ť he said. â€śIt is just a great initiative on Det. Sgt. Scully's part, he is doing a great job with it, a great job,â€ť Carey said. New toys for boys and girls from toddlers to ages 12 to 13 can still be dropped off at the Police Station. Dispatchers at the department can provide more information to those calling 766-1212.