Officers from the Clay Township Police Department are offering to let you deface one of their cruisers – for a price.
From 5 to 7 p.m., Nov. 26, those who bring a new toy, canned goods and non-perishable items to The Pack a Cruiser event at the McDonald’s restaurant on Ohio 51 get a chance to sign the vehicle.
“You’ll be allowed to sign the car. But don’t put an OSU Buckeyes signature on the cruiser. That may get you arrested,” joked officer Esteban Reyes, who is overseeing the project. The erasable ink will eventually be cleaned off. But a picture will capture the moment.
Reyes is also a co-chairman of the Allen-Clay-Harris townships unit of the Ottawa County Holiday Bureau. The unit helps residents within the Genoa and Woodmore school districts over the holiday season. Last year, 175 families sought assistance.
Toys and a bag of food are distributed to those who qualify based on federal income guidelines. Applications are available at www.ottawacountyholidaybureau.org and are due by Dec. 1. Distributions take place Dec. 15.
Merging the needs of the bureau with the police department assistance was a natural fit, he said. It’s all part of community policing.
A Girl Scout troop from Genoa will be at the restaurant Monday along with Ronald McDonald, who will hand out food coupons to those turning in Holiday Bureau donations.
“We did it last year and it turned out pretty good,” Reyes said.
The event is kind of weather dependent, Reyes noted. The cruiser will be there should the weather be fair. In case of rain, the cruiser may be replaced with the department’s Humvee.
The donation event is one of two Holiday Bureau collections surrounding the Thanksgiving weekend.
Donation sites for food and toys are currently set up at Miller’s New Market, Dollar General, Genoa Library and Genoa Elementary.
The community collection will culminate at the Christmas Tree Lighting Celebration at 6:30 p.m. Friday evening in downtown Genoa. Area merchants are gearing up for the event with a series of open houses the same weekend.
“Anybody that brings a toy or a food item donated at a local business will receive a raffle ticket. A girls and a boys bike will be raffled off that evening,” Reyes explained. Genoa merchants donated the bicycles for the event. Donations are being accepted at Genoa Custom Interiors, Rayz Café and Genoa Elementary.
Reyes said the owners of Moore’s Orchards recently agreed to provide apples for the holiday package distribution. The Humvee will be driven to the Oak Harbor business on Dec. 14. Clay Township officers will then help pack the vehicle and then take it to the distribution site.
“Last year they gave us well over 20 boxes,’ Reyes said.
Clay Township police are also planning to make a monetary donation to the cause, said Chief Terry Mitchell. That donation will be made in the name of deceased officer William J. Hetrick, who died in an accident while on duty in July 2000.
If you want to donate cash or toys but cannot make either event, contact co-chairwoman Kathy Mapes (for monetary donations) at 419-654-6273 or Catherine Aldrich (toy coordinator) at 419-764-9293.