Manor fire and police and Eifert, French spread holiday cheer collecting toys for kids


Donations piling up at the Pelham Manor fire station.

This holiday season, the Pelham Manor Fire and Police departments and Eifert, French & Ketchum are working to make childrens’ holidays more enjoyable with the 74th annual Toys for Tots program, delivering gifts to the less fortunate around the area. 

The program originally started in 1947 when Major Bill Hendricks collected and distributed 5,000 toys to children in need. The following year, Hendricks was able to partner with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves Toys for Tots Program because of his first-year success.  

“The primary goal of Marine Toys for Tots is to gift a new toy and help bring the joy of Christmas to America’s less fortunate children,” said event coordinator Steven Topilnycky, who is adjutant at the Marine Corps League, Department of New York. “The community and Pelham Manor Police and Fire departments have done a phenomenal job in years past.”

Last year with Covid-19,  donations at various locations dropped, with around 24,019 children receiving toys. This year, the collection points are seeing an increase in giving, and the program is hoping to provide gifts to more than 25,200 children. 

The favorite thing that stands out is walking the halls of Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital and hand delivering gifts to each child,” said Pelham Manor Fire Captain Michael Greco. “To see them smile is an everlasting moment. We hope that we will be able to do that again next year.”

Numerous volunteers help to make the event what it is.

“It is heartwarming to see the generosity of so many people each year,” said Martha Hagwood, vice president of operations at Eifert, French & Ketchum. “The tireless help of all the volunteers is simply amazing.”

Donations are being taken at the Pelham Manor Fire and Police departments at village hall, as well as Eifert, French & Ketchum until Dec. 14.

The Pelham Fire Department is also collecting toys on Saturday, when Santa visits the firehouse.