By ZEINAB NAJM
A friendly battle waged between Dearborn Police and Dearborn Heights Fire departments will end in a win for children during the holiday season.
For this year’s Toys for Tots collection on Dec. 13 to 15, the two departments decided to compete to see who could collect the most unwrapped toys or cash donations.
The “Battle of Two Cities” winner will receive a United States Marine Corps Toys for Tots championship trophy to keep for a year. The real winners, however, will be underprivileged children in both cities because they will have a gift under their Christmas tree.
“I’ve wanted to see the battle take place for a few years now,” Former U.S. Marine and newly elected Dearborn Heights Councilman Bill Bazzi said. “I’m excited to see who will win and hundreds of toys and cash that will be donated for local children.”
People braved the snow and cold weather to drop off gifts at the Dearborn Police Department, 16099 Michigan Ave., and Hype Athletics, 23302 W. Warren Ave.
“This is the fifth year we’ve done the collection and I enjoy doing it because I know someone in need will have a toy this holiday,” Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad said. “The community always comes together no matter the need, and I couldn’t be more proud.”
Police officers, firefighters and Marines were in attendance at the collections sites for meet-and-greets. The collection period ends on Dec. 14 at Hype Athletics and Dec. 15 at the Dearborn Police Department.
Dearborn Heights Fire Chief David Brogan said the friendly competition had included some trash talking which he didn’t mind because the battle supports those in need.
“A little competition doesn’t hurt when the end result benefits a great organization,” Brogan said. “I’m happy to see the community support to provide children with gifts this holiday season.”
Zap Zone owner Mike Hamade donated boxes of basketballs, soccer balls and other toys to the Dearborn Heights site.
The U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program collect toys in the months leading up to Christmas ensuring less fortunate children across the country have gifts under their tree.
For more information on the program, to donate or receive gifts go to toysfortots.org.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])