New Jersey toy drive a highly-organized success
Returning home after many years following devastating storm will change the look and feel of a place, however once well-known or beloved.
On Dec. 15, Sgt. Timothy Hoppe of the Thomaston Police Department visited his New Jersey shore hometown of Middletown to lift the spirits of families affected by Superstorm Sandy that ravaged the area in late October.
"It was different, not as I remember it," he said. "I couldn't believe the destruction and the empty houses."
Hoppe arrived with his mother, Jo Ann, and son, Hunter, with 2,000 presents for Bayshore area children.
The gifts were given by Midcoast residents for Hoppe's Maine to Middletown toy drive, joining with his friend Capt. Kyle Bracken of the East Keansburg Fire Station 5.
In four hours, volunteers at the fire station wrapped the gifts and prepared them for a party to celebrate the season and present families with the gifts. Hoppe said the entire operation was highly organized.
Hoppe brought 50 pounds of lobster to the event to share with volunteers that were donated by Friendship lobsterman Keith Simmons.
"It was great," Hoppe said.
Courier Publications reporter Juliette Laaka can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 118 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.