The Oak Grove Community Center once again partnered with Cash Express for the 2020 “Fill the Cruiser” event. Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, OGCC and Cash Express are hoping to gain more success than last year’s event.

This year, the “Fill the Cruiser” event will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 3 with two locations for anyone to drop off toys or monetary donations.

Each year the Oak Grove Police Department donates one of its cruisers to be filled with toys for children intended for the Christmas season.

The OGPD cruiser will be posted at Cash Express on Fort Campbell Boulevard. At the same time, a flatbed truck will be set up at the community center. Each will be taking donated toys or money for the event.

The toys donated during the event as well as the money that is donated, will be used to create a “shopping center” at the community center.

During which, children and families will be able to “shop” around for free toys of their liking and take them for Christmas. All of those toys for the event are donated to the community center during the holiday season or through the “Fill the Cruiser” event.

“We just want to try to help out as many residents as we possibly can,” Community Center Director Melissa Lynch said of the event.

“Those that may be in need or just need a little help or assistance. We just want to bless our community as much as we possibly can.”

This year, Lynch expects to have a better turn out of donated toys and money than last year, despite the pandemic.

While the “Fill the Cruiser” event takes place on Dec. 3, Lynch shared that the community center has already received some monetary donations to go towards toys and gifts for the Christmas shopping event.

Lynch shared that so far the community center has received around $500 in donations.

Last year, following the “Fill the Cruiser” event, Lynch said the community center received between $3,500-$4,000 worth of both toys and monetary donations.

In total, Lynch shared that the community center was able to help out 432 families during the Christmas shopping event.

“I’m expecting more toys this year,” Lynch said. “I’m expecting more, but if we get the same amount, we’ll still be happy about that.

“We have people that have already started donating. We’ve had people reach out and say ‘Hey, what do you guys need, what’re you looking for?’ So, I’m hoping those are people that weren’t involved last year, that are getting involved this year.”

This year’s Christmas shopping event will be on Dec. 17 and will look a bit different than previous years given the pandemic.

Lynch explained that this year, instead of having a shopping center, the event will be a drive-thru with families driving up to a volunteer and providing a Christmas wish list with the child’s name, age and gender.

A masked up and gloved employee will then retrieve a gift from the list and provide it to the family, free of charge.

“I want to thank everybody in advance for everything they’ve done during the pandemic and the ones that are able to give, we are thankful for,” Lynch said.

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