Even a Boston radio station, Mix 104.1, got into the act, Farrell said. The station was at the Northshore Mall in Peabody on Tuesday running a toy drive to replace the donations stolen in Danvers. Firefighters were also at Wal-Mart on Brooksby Village Drive last weekend collecting toys.
“Sometimes it takes tragedy ... to bring out the good in people,” Farrell said.
“It was truly amazing the way people came together,” said Andy Schylling, co-owner of Green Elephant Toys, which stepped up to help replace the donations by selling toys for the collection at cost. He said donations from his store were “well north of $15,000.” The Rowley toy company Schylling Inc. also made “a very large donation.”
Schylling said it may not have been the best business decision for a local toy store at Christmastime, “but it was the right thing to do.” People from as far away as New Hampshire were calling the store to thank him, and local business also contributed to the toy drive.
Schylling said the pile of toys in the store “just grew exponentially.” Those who attended the Downtown Holiday Festival and tree lighting ceremony last weekend jammed his store to make donations. Crews hauling the toy donations out of the store filled two pickup trucks and a Jeep towing a trailer, he said.
“It was full circle, the whole community came together,” he said.
As for the Grinch who stole the Christmas toys?
“Whoever did this, they didn’t ruin our Christmas,” Russell said. “We are going to work that much harder.”
The time to give to Toys for Tots in time for Christmas is growing short. The hope is to collect as many donations as possible by the end of the day tomorrow, said state police Sgt. Byron Rizos. There is a Toys for Tots collection box at the state police barracks at 485 Maple St., at the intersection of routes 1 and 62. The barracks are open round the clock.
Rizos said despite all the donations in Danvers, there is still a need for new toys for needy children throughout the state.
“When I talked with our coordinator, donations are down 26 percent statewide” from last year, Rizos said.
Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at email@example.com or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.