Toys for Tots campaign hopes to make holidays special for local youths

1 year ago

HOULTON, Maine — Ambulance personnel often see people at their worst, in crisis situations.

But the Southern Aroostook Emergency Medical Services crew is trying to change that this holiday season by serving as a collection destination for the Toys for Tots program. 

“We are very excited to be hosting Toys for Tots,” said Danielle Golding, a member of the Southern Aroostook Emergency Medical Services team. “I have been working on this project since October, as it seems this fundraiser has drifted away from (some portions of) our County.”

The Southern Aroostook Emergency Medical Services is collecting new, unwrapped toys to be distributed to children in Aroostook County and will be hosting a “Stuff the Ambulance” event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 18, at the Houlton Walmart.

“We will be parked outside accepting toys, and our goal is to completely fill the ambulance full of toys to make Christmas brighter for the children of Aroostook County,” Golding said. 

In addition, the SAEMS ambulance is accepting unwrapped toy donations at its building at 45 Access Road from now until Dec. 21.The basic mission of the Marine Toys for Tots Program is to collect new, unwrapped toys and distribute them to less fortunate children at Christmas, to send a message of hope.All of the toys collected will be distributed by the Aroostook County Toys for Tots coordinator, Rudy St. Peter, and his team of approximately 12 “elves.” 

Toys for Tots supplies gifts for all ages of children and teens, from infant to 17 years old. Families in need of assistance are required to fill out an application for toys. The application is offered online at:

“I have been working on getting a campaign going for our Houlton area since October,” Golding said. “I felt it was necessary where I haven’t seen any specific Christmas fundraising events with the Toys for Tots organization in quite some time.

Golding added the rural nature of Aroostook County leaves many underprivileged children going without during the holidays.

“I personally feel that this part of the state gets forgotten about, and where we’re so rural, that seems to pose a bit more of financial hardships for families, between the cost of fuel, and travel for employment,” she said. “Being in EMS, we see some families at their worst, and we are very family oriented in this line of work. Most EMS providers care beyond the patient,  and this is a great way to give more to the community that we serve.”