Toys for Tots gets underway in Milford

What are some of the hot toys this holiday season?

According to one website, Snuggles My Dream Puppy, at about $55, is high on some lists. The stuffed puppy “snuggles, moves, feels and responds just like a real puppy.”

Then there are Hatchimals, “interactive magical creatures inside eggs.” At about $60 or more, this egg will hatch when cared for, revealing a “magical creature” inside.

Nick Barrieau, staff writer for the Mane Street Mirror, Foran High School’s newspaper, wrote about trending gifts in this month’s issue of the newspaper, and noted that “the most popular gifts are technology based, whether you are gifting and receiving at a $5 range or a $500 range.”

He lists Blinkee LED gloves, which “illuminate the area around your hands with a barrage of colorful lights.” According to Barrieau, they sell for about $6 on

Then there’s the AERIUS™ Quadcopter, “the world’s smallest drone” that can fit on the tip of your finger. Barrieau says, “With four available colors, the AERIUS™ Quadcopter flies in at the low cost of only $30.” It’s available at

That information might be useful for those heading out to buy gifts for this year’s Milford Toys for Tots drive, which benefits Milford families.

Local firefighters kicked off the annual toy collection Tuesday, when they brought a firetruck to City Hall and accepted some new, unwrapped toys from Mayor Ben Blake to get the season started.

The mayor said he thinks XBox will be a popular gift this year. Firefighter Doug Hannigan predicted trolls will be high on children’s lists because of the movie Trolls, and Firefighter Jason Stacoffe guessed that Star Wars toys are still a hot item.

Then there are the traditional gifts: Board games, arts and crafts supplies and sports equipment.

Santa, aka Rick George, who attended the Toys for Tots kickoff, said he expects to see a lot of electronics on the wish lists he sees from children, along with My Little Pony toys and American Girl Dolls.

Milford Professional Firefighters Association, Local 944, runs the Milford Toys for Tots collection, which is now in its 51st year in Milford.

Firefighters Stacoffe and Hannigan have taken over the reigns of the drive this year as co-chairman. They’ve both been involved in the program for several years, and “once you get started, you get hooked,” said Stacoffe

Stacoffe and Hannigan expect the firefighters will distribute toys to 300 Milford families this year who otherwise might not be able to afford gifts for their children.

Residents can help by bringing a new, unwrapped toy, book or game to any Milford Fire station, or the Milford’s City Clerk’s office. Checks may be mailed to Toys for Tots, Station 7, 55 Wheelers Farm Road, Milford, CT 06461.

Toys and donations can also be dropped off at Five Below, Cafe Atlantique, Give a Dog a Bath and Jimmies Pizza. And on Dec. 10, Durham School Services will be hosting a Stuff a Bus toy drive at Stop & Shop on East Town Road, near the mall.

Retired firefighter Butch Torento started the Milford-based Toys for Tots program in 1965. Torento often said that he had grown up without holiday toys and he didn’t want others to go without as he had.

Any family who needs assistance should call 203-874-6785 after Nov. 28. The program is confidential.