Community steps up to help Watertown church after gifts were stolen

The community is coming together to donate gifts to the church after theirs were stolen. (WFSB)

The community is stepping up after nearly 40 gifts, meant for underprivileged children, were stolen from a Watertown church on Monday.

Thousands of dollars in donations have been made to the First Congregational Church, helping to get young children the holiday season they deserve.

"It's overwhelming, it's astounding,” said Cecilia Davidson, chairwoman of the church’s Wider Mission Committee.

The committee collects and donates presents for underprivileged children around the holidays.

Davidson said people have been reaching out to find ways they can help, after dozens of gifts were stolen from the church on Monday.

The presents were going to benefit Wellmore Behavioral Health in Waterbury.

Anyone from the community could buy a gift for a child by selecting an “angel” from the church’s bulletin board.

The collection for the 80 gifts ended this past weekend.

"I just can't believe somebody could do such a despicable thing for these children, I mean, it's horrible. Horrible,” Davidson said.

After seeing the story on Eyewitness News Tuesday night, people have dropped off toys, pre-stuffed stockings, and donated money to help replace what was lost.

"I don't have a lot...but it's our responsibility to help each other out,” said Polly Miller of Watertown, who stopped by the church on Wednesday and dropped off some diapers.

She said she feels it is important to give, not only this time of the year, but year-round to those who are less fortunate.

"Things like this would show you the level of caring that still exists,” Miller said.

For Beverly Nichols, one of the senior deacons at the church, she said they are so grateful for the support they have received.

"Thank you to so many people...people we know, people we don't know...people from far away, people from close's just been amazing,” Nichols said.

Watertown police said the incident is still under investigation and anyone with information should contact them immediately.

Detectives said they have new information that could help them identify a person of interest.

"Somebody also said you can't appreciate the good unless you've had bad...and so, the bad has really made the good so much more special,” Nichols said.

Because of the overwhelming amount of support the church has received, they are now asking for people to donate directly to Wellmore Behavioral Health or donate to another charity of their choice.

Copyright 2016 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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