By ARDEN BASTIA On Tuesday, Nov. 17 the Warwick Police Department debuted a rusty green shipping container on their Facebook page, leaving many to speculate about its use. Some guessed it was extra office space. A few thought it was a delivery of new
On Tuesday, Nov. 17 the Warwick Police Department debuted a rusty green shipping container on their Facebook page, leaving many to speculate about its use. Some guessed it was extra office space. A few thought it was a delivery of new cruisers. Or a holding cell for prisoners.
Capt. Michael Lima was impressed by the guesses, and in an interview said, “It’s stirred up the community engagement we need.” When Capt. Lima became head of the community services division earlier this year, he had big goals of making an impact. This holiday season, the Warwick Police Department is filling a shipping container with donations to help a growing need.
The Department has participated in toy drives in the past, although this is the first year a shipping container has been brought in.
“We set a pretty lofty goal this year to FILL this container with toys for our Christmas toy drive,” reads a statement on the Department’s Facebook page. “This is going to take a lot of work and a lot of support.”
Lima said the focus this year is helping Warwick. “Things are tough for some families this year because of COVID, being out of work. We want to make sure our community is taken care of.”
He also acknowledged that because of the restrictions of the pandemic, many of the community events and fundraisers had to be cancelled.
“We still thought that a toy drive needed to be done, especially as we got closer in with COVID and realized how needy some families are going to be.”
Despite the challenges, Lima pointed out that this has truly been a community event. “The need is out there, and people want to donate, they want to help. Without community support, this wouldn’t be possible.” Warwick’s Wood Boat and Motor donated the shipping container, and it is already a third of the way full, thanks to a large donation of 10 pallets of toys from the First Responders Children’s Foundation, an organization from New York that supports the children and families of first responders.
Identifying where the greatest need was, Lima said that the donated toys will be distributed to different partners, including the Kent County Coalition, Comprehensive Community Action Plan (CCAP), Boys & Girls Clubs, Family Services of Rhode Island, church groups, and neighborhood organizations.
“We’re looking for any type of toy, as long as they’re new. Clothes as well,” said Lima.
Donations can be dropped off at the Warwick Police Department at 99 Veterans Memorial Drive, or at community events like “Stuff a Cruiser.” Lima explained that over the next three weekends, starting this upcoming weekend, the Department will park a cruiser at locations like Hobby Lobby, Five Below, Target, and Walmart, where people can purchase a toy and drop it in the cruiser on their way out.
“This is definitely inspiring,” said Lima of the support the Department has received so far. “This is something positive in an otherwise really difficult year.”