The Piermont Police Athletic League annually distributed toys and food to those in need around the holidays.
This year, the Piermont PAL's annual toy drive is set for today from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Piermont Community Center, but there is more to it than in years past.
"There is a greater need this year with Hurricane Sandy," said Piermont's community police officer, Ken Marren. "We have twice as many families. Normally, it's a toy and food basket drive. I get food from the Catholic Daughters. This year, we are asking for gift cards as well.
"We are asking if anybody can donate cards to larger stores like Target, Home Depot and ShopRite, so the people who lost everything can start rebuilding their lives and get what they need."
They do not accept cash, just gift cards or checks, which should be made out to Piermont PAL. For those that cannot make the toy drive, checks or gift cards can be dropped off or mailed to the Piermont Village Hall at 478 Piermont Ave. For more information, contact Joan Will at email@example.com.
Marren already organized one distribution around Thanksgiving, with another set for Dec. 22. Donations must be in by Dec. 20.
"Thanksgiving was great," Marren said. "I had double the amount of families. St. John's and a church in Suffern donated baskets. I gave out over 30 baskets to families."
Two local Girl Scout troops will donate their time to wrap gifts. One will be making cookies.
"Officer Kenny Marren does a lot of great work with the Piermont PAL," Piermont Police Chief Michael O'Shea said. "Especially after the hurricane. He's done a tremendous job and he's going to do it again."
They got a large boost from Suffern Police Chief Clarke Osborn, who received the PAL's Police Award Monday, who raised nearly $5,000 in gift cards, some of which already went out and the rest will go Dec. 22.
"We knew the holiday program was going to be big this year," O'Shea said. "We had people who lost everything. We didn't know what we were going to do. Then Clarke called us. It was unbelievable, almost $5,000 in gift cards Clarke raised."
Editor's note: Check back with Patch for more from Monday's Piermont PAL Awards Luncheon.