UMass cops collect “Quarters for Christmas”

Dec 5, 2018

For the 21st year in a row, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Police Department collected quarters to help kids have a happy Christmas.

The Quarters for Christmas drive was inspired by local radio personality Stan Lipp, who began collecting quarters on a strip of tape that stretched across the Dartmouth Mall. One year, however, Lipp was not able to collect enough quarters to complete the connection.

That’s when UMass Dartmouth Officer Dennis Tucker stepped in to help by bringing the collection drive to UMass Dartmouth. That year, he collected enough quarters to stretch a line from the Administration building to the Liberal Arts building. 

“We were peeling quarters off tape for hours,” remembered retired Officer Steve Mello, who broke all his nails in the process.

The UMass officers also added a new element: a “Winter Wiener Roast.” All the food and beverages have been donated by Chartwells, the company that runs UMass Dartmouth’s dining program. The officers awarded the company a certificate of appreciation for its generosity.

Each year, the officers sell around 500 hot dogs and raise roughly $1,700, which they use to buy toys to be distributed to local charities.

“When Stevie and myself went to the Boys and Girls Club to distribute the toys, it was an awesome experience,” said Captain Tim Sheehan.

Sheehan said the department appreciates being able to give back to the community.

“It really does bring out the community, it brings out the spirit,” Sheehan said. “People want to help.”

Mello said that the annual event also brings the community at UMass Dartmouth together, as people who usually eat lunch in their offices head to the Campus Center to grab a hot dog. People begin asking about the event as early as September.

The university’s gaming society also helps out with a 24-hour gaming marathon to raise money for toys, which the police department distributes at the Boys and Girls Club and women’s and family shelters in New Bedford.

Mello said the event is also a way to honor the legacy of Officer Tucker.