The 12th annual Toys for Tots campaign at McGaffer’s Saloon on Roosevelt Road was the most successful ever, according to event coordinator Rich “Chubs” Polfus. Besides bringing in $10,000 in cash donations, the Dec. 14 event landed some 30 bags stuffed with dozens of toys that were literally stacked to the rafters of the business’s storage shed.
“They were coming and going all night long,” Polfus said.
Indeed, at 9 p.m., the saloon and its side tent area were packed with more than 100 people. Among those who dropped by were officers of the Oak Park police department, who picked up the cash and toy donations for Hepzibah Home.
Deputy Chief Anthony Ambrose, who dispatched the officers, said he’s a big admirer of Polfus’s work.
“Chubbs is our Santa,” Ambrose said. “We appreciate when people remember the less fortunate, especially at this time of the year.”
Besides that operation, McGaffer’s Toys for Tots program formally benefited nine other charitable and religious concerns, and made numerous private donations to needy families.
The cash donations will be divided among St. Bernardine’s Parish, Sarah’s Inn women’s shelter, The Forest Park Senior Center, the Forest Park Community Center, the McCarney Foster Home, the Schreiner’s Hospital on Oak Park Avenue in Galewood, Ill., the Loyola Medical Center Burn Unit, St. Eulalia’s in Maywood, Ill., and Coach House Care in Naperville, Ill.
Needy families in Forest Park, Oak Park and Maywood also received food and presents to help brighten their holidays.
“If somebody needed something, we did what we could,” Polfus said.