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Goodfellows Crusade for Toys serves 100 families

Becky Vargo • Dec 22, 2016 at 12:00 PM

The American Legion Goodfellows delivered donations to 100 families in Northwest Ottawa County following the recent Crusade for Toys by area fire departments. 

Coordinator Ray Ribbink said his volunteers were geared up to help 200 families, so the extra items have been donated to The Salvation Army and Coopersville Cares toy stores, and Love in Action (formerly Love INC). Some of the toys will be stored to help the Goodfellows get a jump on next year’s packaging, Ribbink said.

Ribbink said the Goodfellows are a little disappointed that they couldn’t help more families.

“It’s a good thing, though, if the economy is better,” he added.

Last year, the organization delivered toys and clothing to 138 families. A few years ago, the number was about 240, Ribbink said.

Families turn in applications through The Salvation Army to be considered for the distribution.

More than $12,000 in cash and hundreds of new toys were donated by the local fire departments participating in this year’s Crusade for Toys, Ribbink said. Some of the money was raised during an event at the Grand Haven Eagles.

Grand Haven Department of Public Safety personnel and their families raised $4,500 on two December weekends to benefit Crusade for Toys, according to Director Jeff Hawke. Public safety officers, family members and other volunteers rang bells at the corners to attract attention and donations.

“GHDPS also collected enough toys to fill a small trailer,” Hawke said.

Crockery Township firefighters collected more than $4,200 during their weekend event, plus a $250 check, according to Fire Chief Gary Dreyer.

Spring Lake Township, Ferrysburg and Grand Haven Township also participated.

Ribbink said the Goodfellows had a wrapping party this past Saturday, and then 15 teams delivered the presents based on routes set up for them by a former bus driver.

“They are very friendly and very thankful,” Ribbink said of the families receiving the help. “The kids just go wild. It’s a great feeling.”

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