With Thanksgiving approaching and numerous religious holidays to follow, the season of gift-giving and showing love to one another is completely underway. Springfield College’s Public Safety officers are spreading the joy through “Stuff a Cruiser,” a toy drive for children at Shriners Hospital in downtown Springfield.
Ofc. Richard Spaulding and Director of Operations for the Graduate Student Organization, Laura Cafaro, are heading the initiative to literally “stuff” a Public Safety officer’s police car with toys to donate. Tuesday, Nov. 16, kicked off the donation drive with Cafaro and Spaulding standing next to a parked cruiser in the walkway outside the Student Union building.
“The goal is to get as many toys inside the car as possible. Once the event is over, we’ll take the cruiser down to the Shriners Hospital in downtown Springfield and drop them off to the kids,” he added.
The Shriners Hospital, located on Carew St., specializes in pediatric care with a team of experienced professionals spanning multiple units.
“Any child can begin care with them at any age… and once you start care with them, they pretty much take care of you for as long as they can,” said Spaulding.
“I know they have a burn hospital, so they specialize with kids who have severe burns, or they help with disfigured limbs and prosthetics… they’re really an amazing organization, and it’s just all about kids,” continued Spaulding.
Donations for “Stuff A Cruiser” are being accepted from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 16 and 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 18. However, Spaulding says that he and the officers will not be going down to donate the toys until late December, and his office will be accepting toy donations until then.
Students should also know that if they bring a toy with them to donate this week, their name is automatically entered into a raffle for a “Park Anywhere” pass. This parking pass, designed to look like temporarily-issued Public Safety passes, will allow the holder to park their car in any lot on campus until the end of the Spring 2022 semester. This excludes person-specific spots, parking for people with disabilities, or specially-reserved areas, but is an enticing incentive.
In his previous position with Western New England University, Spaulding led a similar “Stuff A Cruiser” drive that also benefited the Shriners Hospital.
“I like that we’re keeping it local versus some of the national donation drives… Everybody kind of donates to the same drive, or group, which is great, but I like that it’s more intimate keeping it in the community that we’re a part of.
“We’re going to go down, and we’re actually going to get to see the kids… It was a great event when I was at Western New England, and I’m so happy that we’re bringing it down here,” said Spaulding.
If any individuals have questions or would like to donate to the “Stuff A Cruiser” drive, please contact Ofc. Richard Spaulding at firstname.lastname@example.org or Laura Cafaro at email@example.com.
Photo Courtesy Irene Rotondo