DEGRAFF — The annual area toy drive organized by DeGraff’s Tyler Slaven and his sister Monica that has collected over 35,000 toys in the last five years has hit a bump in the road this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is their sixth annual toy drive, which they started back in high school in conjunction with the Ohio Virtual Academy, with the dream that children in the hospital on Christmas Day would always have a nice toy to wake up to. So they teamed up back then as high school students and started their first toy drive by putting a few donation bins in area stores and doing a couple of bake sales.
Over the years they have established hundreds of donation bins all over Ohio at stores, libraries, offices and grocers in communities including Urbana, Sidney, Lima, Indian Lake, Piqua, Troy, Springfield and many others.
Each year since, they have more than doubled their toy collections for Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Last year’s record-breaking collection of 20,283 toys was the most ever donated to Nationwide Children’s Hospital. The previous record was 9,200 toys set by the Slavens the year before.
That all changed this year due to COVID-19, and the Slavens don’t want to disappoint the kids in the hospital this Christmas.
This year they are accepting donations instead of toys. The donations will be used to buy toys for the children.
“This year’s toy drive will look a bit different due to the guidelines and protocols that we are following to ensure the health and safety of my team, the donors, the hospital staff, and most importantly, the children,” said Tyler Slaven.
“After all of the crazy things 2020 has thrown at us, I am proud to announce that the Ohio Virtual Academy Agricultural Society will be continuing our sixth annual Christmas Toy Drive for Nationwide Children’s Hospital,” adds Slaven.
“In an attempt to keep everyone as safe as possible, we are encouraging that the community help the children out by making a monetary donation this year. As always, each donation will be used to purchase toys for the children in the hospital who will not be able to be home with their families for Christmas. For this year’s drive, locations where toys can be dropped off is not available. Our goal is to keep everyone safe, which requires special handling,” maintains Slaven.
Donations will be used to purchase rattles and toys for babies and toddlers and items for older children like crayons, coloring and activity books, books, games, playing cards, LEGO sets, DVDs and craft kits.
Donations will be taken to Nationwide Children’s Hospital on Dec. 13.
Donors may contribute via PayPal at tinyurl.com/ybalnwxw
Physical monetary donations can be made, upon request. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ron Brohm is a regular contributor to this newspaper.