Asbury Park Police Officer Connie Breech, who founded the Asbury Park Toy Drive 20 years ago, said this will be the organization’s last year.
“We are going to disband, a lot of us are older,” she said.
The toy drive distributed thouands of toys to youngsters over the years.
Breech, who will be retiring from the police force next year after 25 years of service, said it was time.
This year’s toy drive is more low key due to the pandemic and many of the usual fundraising events that brought in toys and donations have been cancelled or postponed.
On Sun., Dec. 6 from 1 to 4 p.m. there is a drive-by drop off event at Georgie’s Tavern on Fifth Avenue which will be as contactless as possible.
People can drive by and open their trunks and volunteers will take the items out of the cars. Cash donations will also be accepted.
Last year, Breech said, they gave out toys to 500 Asbury Park families. Applications are still being accepted for this year’s drive.
When they give out the toys on Dec. 19at 614 Lake Ave. Santa Claus will be behind plexiglass.
“It will be a more somber event this year,” she said.
Donations can also be made on the group’s Amazon Wish List and will be mailed directly. Information about the toy drive can also be found on Facebook.
Breech said the name and the 501(c)3 will not be transferred after this year.
She said anyone wishing to continue a toy drive will have to apply for their own charitable status.
“There are grassroots people out there,” she said. “There are more churches, more businesses and more groups.”
Breech said when the toy drive started the city was a “ghost town.”
“It started out as this little thing and grew into this behemoth,” she said.
The charity was incorporated as a 501(c)3 in 2013.
Also this year Tim Cabrey founder of Asbury Sunset Presents has pledged to match the first $1000 in gifts purchased at three downtown shops, Fun House, Asbury Book Cooperative and Foolish Ginger.
“My thinking is a matching gift program supports multiple fronts; shopping local retailers and providing gifts to the APTD both. Participating stores have also agreed to be drop off points for other new unwrapped toys even if not purchased fro them and I will pick up, match the gifts with purchases of my own, and deliver to APTD as needed, with our campaign ending Dec. 20,” he said.