PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

BY JENNIFER AMY MYERS, Valley Dispatch Staff

PELHAM — This December the Pelham Firefighters Association is going some place they have never gone before. They will be collecting toys for the U.S. Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots program for the first time.

“This is my second Christmas here in Pelham. The first year I just kind of laid low,” firefighter Steve Brady said. “But I came from Dracut, and they are really big into Toys for Tots there and I thought it would be a great program to bring to Pelham.”

In 2004, more than 19 million toys were distributed to 7.5 million children, who otherwise may have woken up on Christmas morning to empty stockings and disappointment.

Brady got in touch with the Armed Forces Reserve Center in Londonderry and expects to receive all of the official posters and collection boxes this week. All of the toys collected in Pelham will be brought to Londonderry for regional distribution to needy families.

“They already have an established list and know who needs what,” Brady said. “Maybe in the future we can do something that is more directly local, but this year’s program is a great way for us to get our feet wet.”

The Pelham firefighters will be kicking off their toy collection on December 4 at their annual Yuletide Celebration. The free event, which will include live music, baked goods, refreshments, and a visit by Santa and Mrs. Claus begins at 4 p.m. at the fire station.

The firefighters will be accepting new, unwrapped toys of a non-violent nature from December 4 through December 23. They can be dropped off at the fire station anytime.

“There is a special need for toys for older kids ages 10-13 and for the little kids ages 1-3,” Brady added.

Have a story idea? E-mail Jennifer Amy Myers at jmyers@thevalleydispatch.com.