Milton's shining stars

The Shining Star toy drive is underway. The program is in its second year and is designed to support siblings and families of students chosen to participate in the Shop with a Cop program. Unwrapped toys and cash donations can be delivered to the Milton Area Chamber of Commerce office, 144 Merchant Row, until Dec. 16. Shining stars placed in the chamber’s office window represent families and businesses that have made donations.

Fifteens students, grades 4K-8, were selected by the Milton school district recently to participate in the “Shop with a Cop” program.

Developed to promote goodwill and positive relationships between members of the community and law enforcement, the program looks to spread holiday cheer by giving children within the community the opportunity to treat themselves and members of their families to holiday gifts. In Milton, funds for the program are provided through Walmart’s community grant program, Milton Police Chief Scott Marquardt said. The Milton program is in its second year.

Selected children often have siblings, both Marquardt and Milton Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Dani Stivarius said. The Shining Star Toy Drive, also in its second year, was developed to help spread holiday goodwill to the other members of the families.

Children participating in the Shop with a Cop program were selected for “outstanding behavior,” according to a recent Milton school district press release. Additional families that could use some help over the holiday season have also been included in the Shining Star program, Stivarius said.

To support the families, Stivarius said, the Shining Star grant-oriented nonprofit organization is asking for unwrapped toys and cash donations. Money will be used to purchase toys and a boxed dinner from Cowley’s Piggly Wiggly for each family. The cost of the dinner is $50.

The Shining Star initiative was begun in 2017, Stivarius said. Its mission, as stated on the chamber website, is to enrich the Milton community by “giving back” and “conveying a ray of light to those experiencing hardship.”

Chamber ambassadors working with the program hold fundraisers throughout the year to support program initiatives. Chamber ambassadors serve as liaisons between the businesses and the chamber, and the chamber and the larger community, Stivarius said.

As community members make donations, a star will be placed in the window of the chamber office, 144 Merchant Row, Stivarius said.

Donations can be accepted until Dec. 16. On Dec. 17, ambassadors will shop for the families. Wrapped gifts and meals will be delivered to the families on Dec. 18, she said.

Several drop boxes for unwrapped toy donations have been placed in businesses in Milton, including: Milton Senior Living, LLC, 600 W. Sunset Dr.; Diamond Assets, 1850 Putman Way; the Milton Area Chamber of Commerce office, and in Janesville: Hagen CPA, 4525 Woodgate Dr.

For more information, contact the chamber or visit the website: http://www.visitmilton.com.

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