Salvation Army raises over $1,700 from Fill-A-Cruiser event | Local News | newburyportnews.com

2022-12-08 20:39:01 By : Ms. Penny Yang

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Salvation Army raises over $1,700 from Fill-A-Cruiser event | Local News | newburyportnews.com

Salvation Army Major Jon-Eric Berkhoudt stands next to some of the items donated during the Fill-A-Cruiser fundraiser Saturday.

Salvation Army Major Jon-Eric Berkhoudt stands next to some of the items donated during the Fill-A-Cruiser fundraiser Saturday.

NEWBURYPORT — Customers at Market Basket and Shaw’s Supermarket were greeted with the flashing blue lights of a police cruiser Saturday morning but no one was getting pulled over.

Instead, the city’s Police and Fire departments joined with the Newburyport chapter of The Salvation Army to raise more than $1,700 for local families in need during the 17th annual Fill-A-Cruiser fundraiser.

Salvation Army Captain Jessica Berkhoudt said Fill-A-Cruiser yielded more than 1,000 pounds of canned food, $465 in gift cards and $1,708 in cash donations. The Police Department collected food and money in front of the two grocery stores and the Fire Department collected toys in front of Marshalls department store.

“It was amazing,” Berkhoudt said. “Despite the rain, the community came together and had an amazing response.”

When all was said and done, The Salvation Army collected 36 craft kits, 42 Barbie dolls, 15 infant light-up toys, 28 Tonka trucks, four Magic 8 Balls, as well as 14 new bicycles and six new skateboards (all with new helmets).

“We’ve got brand new bikes. Everything that comes into our facility has to be brand new,” Berkhoudt said.

Newburyport police Officer Matt Whitty spent the rainy Saturday morning and afternoon overseeing the Fill-A-Cruiser drive and said it went better than expected on a soggy day.

“The residents of the community stepped up and it was really nice to see them come through once again,” he said.

Shoppers at Market Basket and Shaw’s were given the option of purchasing premade grocery bags for $20 that they could, in turn, donate to the Fill-A-Cruiser drive.

Whitty thanked the management at Market Basket and Shaw’s for their help in making the event run smoothly.

While the food donations will go toward The Salvation Army’s holiday assistance programs, 10 giant bins of toys are being sorted to become a part of the annual toy shop program, which will open its doors at the Water Street headquarters later this month.

“We’re looking for volunteers to set up the toy shop and sort through the toys that are coming in on Dec. 17,” Berkhoudt said. “We have a massive load of toys. Then, we are looking for individuals to help with the toy shop on Dec. 20 and 21.”

Being able to peruse The Salvation Army’s toy shop gives some local parents a chance to tell their children, “Mommy got this for you or Daddy picked this out for you,” Berkhoudt said.

“It’s kind of set up as a mini Toys R Us without having to pay. Parents get to shop for their own children and for a few additional items that speak to them,” she said. “That is so important. We will cover the top wishlist items, but then we also give the parents the opportunity to shop for other items for their children, too.”

Families in Newburyport, Newbury, West Newbury, Amesbury, Salisbury and Byfield can register their children and provide a three-item wishlist that is then sent to Salvation Army sponsors, as well as businesses and organizations that will shop for the wishlist items the families can come back and pick up later.

“The Newburyport community and the surrounding communities are just not only generous, but they are very intentional as well as aware of what kids are asking for these days,” Berkhoudt said.

Adults often gravitate to items such as bright yellow Tonka trucks when shopping for others, but Berkhoudt said there are plenty of other items The Salvation Army needs as well. For more information, or to volunteer, go to https://easternusa.salvationarmy.org/massachusetts/newburyport/.

“You might want to get some Legos or a gift card for the teens like some gimmicky toys, like light-up lamps that are a unicorn or those kinds of things,” she said.

Teens and preteens often like gifts such as Bluetooth speakers, Axe Body Spray gift sets for boys or spa gift sets for girls, according to Berkhoudt.

“A 14- or 15-year-old disappointed on Christmas affects their self-esteem and their self-worth so much more than if a 6-year-old doesn’t get the Tonka truck. We want to make sure the 7-year-old gets the Tonka truck and the 15-year-old gets their gift item as well. We want to make sure both are covered,” she said.

Staff writer Jim Sullivan covers Newburyport for The Daily News. He can be reached via email at jsullivan@newburyportnews.com or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.

Staff writer Jim Sullivan covers Newburyport for The Daily News. He can be reached via email at jsullivan@newburyportnews.com or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.

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Salvation Army raises over $1,700 from Fill-A-Cruiser event | Local News | newburyportnews.com

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