Christmas came twice this season for Shriners Hospital for Children — Boston when four Massachusetts State Police Troop A officers delivered at least eight bags full of toys Friday.
The toys were left over from the Toys for Tots Christmas drive the troopers held in December. Stuffed animals, dolls, board games, and toy cars overflowed from a red wagon in the hospital lobby.
“The citizens of Massachusetts have been more than generous this past holiday and gave us these extra toys,” Troop A Major Pasquale Russolillo said after the officers loaded bags into the wagon. “We want to show the public that we’re going to continue to give back to the public, not just during the holidays seasons but throughout the year.”
Jean Maginnis, chief donor development officer for the hospital, encouraged the officers to come back in the spring, after flu season, and meet the children.
“Eighty-five percent of our kids can’t afford toys, so the fact that you’re helping us make this a reality . . . ” Maginnis said.
Shriners cares for 7,000 children annually, Maginnis told the Globe.
Russolillo said if the children could leave the hospital, they would be welcome to tour the station.
“We can put our horses on display. We could put K-9s on display. We can have the kids walk through the barracks and go inside the cruiser. We will provide everything that you need,” Russolillo said.
Troop A patrols the North Shore, Lieutenant Michael Harvey said. Harvey said in their efforts to give back to the community the officers served turkeys to the homeless in Lawrence over Thanksgiving and cooked hams for seniors near Christmas.
“Christmas, a lot of people are dropping things off and that’s wonderful, but why can’t it continue year-round? A lot of these toys came in after the deadline for Toys for Tots,” Harvey said. “I think there’s going to be some more around February.”
The troopers said donations of any sort could always be dropped at the station as they plan to return to the hospital.
“We want to continue to show our face to the public and say thanks for everything. We’re never going to say no [to donations],” Russolillo said.
Harvey and Russolillo were assisted by Trooper Scott Hayes and Sergeant Byron Rizos.Sabrina Schnur can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @sabrina_schnur.