LEE >> A local holiday charity that brings joy to dozens of less fortunate children is again off to an early start, hoping to boost participation and donations for the 2015 campaign.
The Laliberte Toy Fund is currently taking requests from needy families in Lee, Lenox Dale and Tyringham.
Applications are available at Lee Town Hall, Lee Youth Association on Academy Street, Lee Elementary School, Lee Library and the Lee Food Pantry in the Airoldi Building on Railroad Street. The forms must be submitted no later than Nov. 13. Toy fund volunteers will distribute the gifts at the Airoldi Building Dec. 6, from 10 a.m. to noon.
Traditionally, the toy fund campaign has kicked off around Thanksgiving weekend and lasted through New Year's Day. Since the charity was revamped in 2013 by Selectwoman Patricia Carlino, town treasurer Donna Toomey and town clerk Suzanne Scarpa. The three women began publicizing the campaign by mid-October, in part to encourage more families to access the toy fund.
After just 44 children received toys two years ago, the earlier campaign start last year saw 67 children benefit from the toy fund. Organizers hope to get back to the 125-level of a few years ago.
While Carlino, Toomey and Scarpa are public officials, they have made it clear the toy fund is in no way connected to town government and all three are acting as private citizens.
As for donations, they fell off a bit in 2014, but still came close to the $8,000 goal, which was surpassed two years ago.
The fund was founded in 1958 by Lee police officer Edward J. Laliberte and was named for him after his death in the 1980s.
To make a donation, send a check to Laliberte Toy Fund, Box 559, Lee, MA 01238, or drop it off at any Lee Bank location.
For more information, visit firstname.lastname@example.org.