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North Adams Emergency Services Holiday Fundraiser Yields Big Numbers
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
04:19PM / Sunday, December 10, 2017
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Donated toys cover the Fire Department's vintage truck at Walmart last month. Fire, police and ambulance personnel collected more than 700 toys for needy children. 
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Emergency services received more than 700 donated toys this holiday season during their annual Emergency Services Toy Drive.
The North Adams Fire Department spent last Monday afternoon wrapping the hundreds of toys they received during the November toy drive outside of Walmart, where shoppers were able to purchase a toy and place it on one of the emergency service vehicles parked outside.
"We have doubled the amount of gifts and we have well over 700 gifts," Mary Ann King, who has spearheaded the drive with firefighter Bob Patenaude, said. "We really surpassed our goal."
"We are at 150, if not more, kids getting three presents each this year," Patenaude said. 
King, a police dispatcher, said this year instead of donating to the Toys For Tots program, emergency services worked with local agencies and organizations to find families in need to sponsor.
"We teamed up with [Berkshire Community Action Council] and other groups because we needed a to find those children that are in need," she said. "That was our goal to put all of this right back into the community."
King said the gifts will be delivered to the families via fire truck, ambulance or police cruiser.
Emergency personnel worked with North Adams Rotary and the Northern Berkshire Family YMCA to host a pizza party Sunday at the Y, with pizza donated by Village Pizza. 
"We have a big Christmas party at the YMCA for them," she said. "We are going to have a movie, there will be arts and crafts, we will hand out hats and mittens and they will open the pool for the families." 
King said it is important to help families in need and noted it is always a touching day when they deliver gifts to families that truly have nothing. 
"It’s great and you would be amazed at the number of families that register right in our own community," she said. "The families that we take on are really in need." 
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