By Kristin Rover
When Amelia Police Officer Mike Matulewicz approached Police Chief David Friend about doing a fundraiser around Christmas this year he did not predict what would come of his idea.
Matulewicz suggested having a fundraiser where residents could help fill one of the village’s police cruisers with items to donate during the holidays.
Friend said he first thought of doing a food drive, but then they decided on doing a toy drive for children in need.
“I was hoping to get one cruiser filled,” Friend said. “I had to go get another and another. I was just delighted.”
Friend said even though Saturday was a rainy day, residents continued to donate all day to the cause.
Friend said they ended up with 622 toys and more than $200 in cash after the event. He said they filled three police cruisers with the toys.
“It was overwhelming the spirit up there,” Friend said. “I would like to thank all of the citizens.”
The fund-raiser was held outside of Main Street Kroger Marketplace in the village.
Emily Bohn, with Kroger, said she was also surprised how much response the fundraiser received.
“We had people coming in non-stop bringing toys or buying toys,” Bohn said.
Bohn said the employees at Kroger helped spread the word about the fundraiser and loved being a part of the cause.
“It will definitely be happening every year,” Bohn said about their involvement.
Matulewicz presented the toys and the money to members of American Legion Post 773 in Amelia.
Matulewicz said he never expected to have such an outpouring of donations.
“It seemed like it would be something positive for kids,” Matulewicz said. “Never in my wildest expectation did I think this would come to light. The community really came together and went beyond my expectations.”
Three post members, including post commander Terry Stowell, first vice Mark Riley and chairman Larry Wheeler, received the donation and said they will be using it for their Neediest Children program.
Stowell said this year the program supported 44 families.
“On behalf of the American Legion, we thank you,” Stowell said.