Watsontown Christmas Program, police keep tradition alive over 70 years

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WATSONTOWN, NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — For more than 70 years, a local police department has done so much more than protect and serve the community.

They make sure Santa Claus has the toys he needs to make Christmas magical for kids on Christmas Day.

Lilly Wallace is helping pick out presents for four children. And at only six years old, she has a big heart.

“Not always people have as many toys as I do so, that’s how I got the idea,” said Lilly Wallace, Lilly’s Toy Drive.

The idea of having Lilly’s Toy Drive was to help the Watsontown Police Christmas Program. Lilly’s Toy Drive has brought in $6,000 worth of merchandise.

“Our house turned into boxes of toys,” Wallace said.

The toys from Lilly’s Toy Drive are mixed in with the program’s donated toys.

Watsontown resident, April Rodriguez has been helped by the program since 2018.

“One day I was like, I have to do something because I had to do something. I couldn’t see my kids have nothing,” Rodriguez explained.

Two of April’s children are teenagers now and have grown to appreciate the gifts they are given by volunteers.

“It’s stuff they liked and stuff they needed. It wasn’t stuff that they would put aside and say, ‘Oh i’m not going to bother with that.’ They do a great job,” said Rodriguez.

It’s all thanks to Carl Reed (pictured below), former Watsontown Police Chief, who started the Christmas Program in 1949.

“To have something go over 70 years and the continued support throughout the community is what allows this program to be successful,” said Lieutenant Chris Snyder, Watsontown Police Department.

A success that started with a handful of less fortunate children and grew into helping Santa Claus fulfill the wishes of 110 children in the Warrior Run School District, on Thursday, December 24, Christmas Eve.

“This program allows them to be able to provide a nice Christmas for their children,” said Lt. Snyder.

These gifts are loaded into vehicles and delivered to make sure there is enough space in Santa’s sleigh for his gifts.

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