JOHNSTOWN – Local fire, police and EMS crews are not toying around when it comes to the Johnstown-area’s first-ever “Stuff The Truck” event Saturday.
An emergency vehicle convoy will gather at Fulton-Montgomery Community College, drive to the Meco Volunteer Fire Department to collect toy donations in a tractor-trailer, then the toys make their way to the Salvation Army of Fulton County in Gloversville. Any undistributed toys will be saved for next year.
“What it is that we’re going to try to help kids in need,” said Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giardino, who is spearheading the event with Montgomery County Sheriff Jeff Smith. “What’s unique to this, unlike the bigger convoys like Toys for Tots, you can [donate] to Toys for Tots and it’ll go all over — these toys are going to Fulton and Montgomery counties.”
Families aplenty are expected to watch the procession.
“They’ll be lights,” Giardino said. “We’re probably not going to do too many sirens because we’re shorthanded and we want to generate positive things.”
More than 50 vehicles and 100 personnel representing more than two dozen agencies will participate in the convoy. Here’s the roughly eight-mile route to the Meco Volunteer Fire Department:
- Northwest (around 10 a.m.) from FMCC on state Highway 67 west
- North on South Comrie Avenue
- West on East Main Street
- North on North Perry Street
- Northwest on Maple Avenue/County Highway 122
- East on County Road 101/State Highway 29A (on the left)
Local first responders have assisted in the Salvation Army’s annual toy drive for six years. This year’s approach was inspired, in part, by the Fonda Fair’s Convoy for a Cause, which includes a parade of truckers and first responders.
Organizer Ryan Lorey explained that the move helps create interest during harsh economic conditions as charities struggle to gather donations.
The event is also expected to be a morale booster for first responders, Smith said.
“When we see families that lose things in fires or are suffering from serious medical conditions or have run-ins with the law where somebody has made a poor decision, it’s extra special for us to get together and be able to provide stuff to hopefully make somebody’s holiday time a little bit better,” Smith said.
In past toy drives, upwards of 400 families have received toys from the community.
After the procession, the Meco Volunteer Fire Department will be open for donations from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Children are expected to receive the gifts on Christmas Day.
Tyler A. McNeil can be reached at 518-395-3047 or at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @TylerAMcNeil.