HAWLEY - The Holiday Toy Drive, brought to you by The ZIPPER JUNCTION Project™, had great success in 2018 with over $80,000.00 in toys, gifts, and monetary donations collected, Jim Zumpone, organizer, reported.

The donations helped over 700 children whose families applied for assistance.

“We wish to thank all who helped in achieving the goals of providing gifts for children living in Wayne and Pike Counties,” Zumpone said. “This was only possible due to the support of many businesses, organizations, and community members who partnered to Host a Toy Collection Box or Host an Event sharing the proceeds with us, as well as the many volunteers who went above and beyond to provide their time to make it all a success.”

 He stated that this program would also not have been possible without the support of The Wayne County Ford and Bold Gold Media Holiday Toy Drive Challenge and everyone involved.

With the community’s support, they filled over seven pickup trucks with toys this past holiday season.

“We would also like to thank everyone involved with The Stourbridge Line Santa Express, individuals or groups who hosted events, and the many sponsors who supported the program,” Zumpone said.

They needed the help of many volunteers to leverage skills to successfully accomplish this huge event.

“By Igniting passions in people within the community, The Holiday Toy Drive was only the beginning of how we and collective community efforts can ensure we are building futures that are happy, meaningful, bright and positive for our kids AND our communities,” he stated.

For several weeks, and specifically the last few days during distribution, Zumpone worked alongside about 50 individuals. He described them as “angels on earth” with a nearly limitless love and compassion for others.

They were white collar and blue, students and teachers, business owners and retirees, a full cross section of the community. Zumpone expressed his thanks to each of them.

This was the second annual Holiday Toy Drive in Wayne and Pike Counties.

The donated toys and other items are separated by age groups along high controlled aisles at the distribution site. The location of the site is not publicized. Coordination is made with the Salvation Army and Wayne County Children’s Bureau so that families on the list are not duplicated.

Zumpone invited the public to consider participating in 2019 to help make a difference in the lives of the community’s children.

For more information, pictures and video about this year’s program, or to sign up for their newsletter to learn about all upcoming events, visit the website www.ZipperJunction.org.