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UMass Medical School Police collect gifts for children in need

  Officer David Cerreto and Sergeant Nikkya Jackson

Officer David Cerreto and Sergeant Nikkya Jackson with a cruiser stuffed with toys collected for area children in foster care. 

Members of the UMass Medical School Police Department and colleagues filled nine cruisers with donated gifts for foster children in the region thanks to generous holiday shoppers.

The results of the annual Stuff-a-Cruiser event, held Nov. 25-26 at the Toys R Us store in Auburn, will benefit children being aided by the Worcester-area Department of Children and Families at a holiday party hosted by UMass Memorial Medical Center.

“Volunteers helped us move closer to achieving the goal of placing a toy in the hands of as many foster children as possible,” said Deputy Chief of Police C. Leon Pierce.

The event began in 2016 after Pierce, whose office affords him a view of the UMass Memorial Children’s Medical Center, inquired about the need for a holiday toy drive to benefit children in the greater Worcester area. After consulting with nursing supervisor Georgina Gardner and local DCF staff, it was decided to hold a two-day volunteer collection at the Auburn toy store. The results were remarkable.

As a result of the 2016 collection, more than 300 families in the greater Worcester area received toys. This year, the group received several donations from men and women who had previously been in foster care, Pierce said.

“We are truly thankful for the donations we received and to the volunteers who participated. Giving time to the community and those who are less fortunate is fulfilling. I’m pleased that we are able to provide an avenue for children to wake up on Christmas morning and begin their day with a smile,” he said.