PEPPERELL — A child’s bicycle with a bow tied to its handlebars surrounded by boxes containing dolls and toys lined one side of the hallway of police headquarters last Saturday.
The second floor training room was awash with wrapping paper and gifts ready for distribution. Tables on which police officers study their more serious job had been transformed into an elfin gift distribution production line.
Sixty Pepperell children from 40 families were to receive a happier holiday, thanks to officers of Mass Cop Local 288 and a host of big-hearted private well-wishers.
Police Detective William Greathead, who has been department for 20 years, was all smiles.
“We’ve been delivering gifts all day,” he said. “What you see here are what’s left to be given out but because of the predicted storm, we’re asking people to pick them up.”
Police headquarters has been the drop off spot for donated gifts since the day after Thanksgiving. Saturday, Dec. 19, was the last day.
“You see all the stuff with the Lowell Sun Santa and other places but here in Pepperell the spirit is also alive and well,” Greathead said, “and there are a lot of people to thank, beginning with my assistants, Linda and Heather Friend, Eileen Lundstrom and Brian Greathead.”
This year there were toys for kids, food, gasoline gift cards and a lot of money and a lot of time donated, he said.
“Christmas isn’t for kids any more, but it’s all about the kids. Our goal is to make Christmas special,” he continued. “And it’s so heartwarming. For example I spoke with a single mother on Main Street the other day. I asked her if she was all set for Christmas. She said she was. She wasn’t. You see people start to cry.”
That’s what makes the annual gift drive special. Police, whose job is often nowhere near as happy, get to see firsthand where there is need.
“There’s got to be some good in the world,” Greathead said. “People stepped up. We thought we would not get that much this year.”
Greathead asked that the following contributors be thanked: Masy Systems; Vita Soy of Ayer and auxiliary officer Glen Caswell who works there; C.W. Fuels and David Lorden; Advantage Auto Body and Bob Boling; Circle Citgo and David Lunn; the Varnum Brook Elementary and Nissitissit Middle Schools; Donelan’s Market of Pepperell; the Community Church; Pepperell Fire Engine Company One; Scissor Action, North Middlesex Savings Bank, McNabb’s General Store; Smokey Bones of Nashua; the employees of Brown and Brown Insurance, Derek Ten Broeck Insurance; Nashoba Valley Technical High School, and the North Middlesex Regional High School football team for wrapping the gifts.
“And many, many others,” Greathead said.