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ELC Vest-a-Cop Event
Officers from the Toms River Police Department visited with students in the Early Learning Center to thank them for their donations to the 32nd Annual Vest-A-Cop, which took place on Sept. 26 in downtown Toms River. 

Sept. 27, 2022-- Schools throughout the district lent support to the Vest-A-Cop campaign, the annual fundraiser to help outfit local police officers with bulletproof vests, by designing school-based fundraisers and many students and staff members showed their support by attending the annual event last night.

This year, 2022, marked the campaign's 32nd year, and it culminated on Monday, Sept. 26 with a big event at a new location-- downtown Toms River-- which included raffles, face-painting, cornhole, axe throwing, music, and a chance to watch the Giants/Cowboys game on a big screen. The family-friendly event was sponsored by Autoland and the Grunin Foundation, and in partnership with Toms River Regional Schools.

And it's that partnership that was manifested all last week in numerous fun and engaging ways. At Intermediate South, for example, a modest donation of $1 allowed students to wear pajamas on Friday, a day which included a visit from Beachwood Police Department's Canine Unit. The school was able to donate $374 directly to the Beachwood Police Department. Walnut Street Elementary School hosted a Jeans Day on Thursday with a $5 donation, and students were encouraged to dress as police officers on Friday in honor of Toms River Police Department. And "Hats Off to the TRPD" invited West Dover Elementary families to send in donations allowing children to wear their favorite hat to school.

Students in the Early Learning Center donated $1 to color a special vest-a-cop themed coloring page. The donations collected from the activity netted over $550 and Supervisor Anna Kasper presented officers with the donation while members of the TRPD visited with students.

At East Dover, students and staff lined up to buy a piece of duct tape that was used to stick their principal, Matt Gray, to the wall. Principal Gray was a great sport and stayed stuck to the wall for several hours! The event raised an impressive $1,500 for the Vest-A-Cop cause.

"This fundraiser has demonstrated that the children and families of East Dover support our local law enforcement officers that protect them each and every day in Toms River," said Principal Gray. He continued, "Our students have a special bond with our class three officer Ron Kirby who makes coming to school safe. Being able to support Officer Kirby's colleagues within the Toms River Police Department has been an honor and a privilege for our entire team at East Dover."

Many other school-based activities to support the Vest-A-Cop campaign have been planned to take place through the end of this week.  

Walnut Street vest a and dress like a cop photo
Walnut Street Elementary School students who dressed like police officers to support Vest-A-Cop were able to meet, receive commemorative sticker badges from, and pose with several TRPD officers Sept. 23.