Holiday Toy Drive in 20th year of spreading cheer

decorating treeAnyone who wonders how SUNY Oswego’s Holiday Toy Drive makes a difference can ask Marion Green about a yellow dump truck.

Green, who coordinates the 20th annual campus effort, recalled meeting someone who benefited from the effort where faculty, staff and students brighten the holidays of needy families.

“I was shopping at Ames and went up to the counter to ask if the toy I had chosen was acceptable for a 6-year-old,” Green said. “She asked me what it was for and after I told her it was for the toy drive, she began to tell me a story.”

The woman told Green she had a son in kindergarten who received a gift from the toy drive. “It was a case of either they bought a toy for their son or they pay the rent. It’s a tough situation,” Green said. 

That case was just one of many identified by the Oswego County Department of Social Services, which provides names and coordinates getting the toys to children. “There are over 1,000 children in need in Oswego County,” said Green, who works in Penfield Library.

Members of the campus and community helped fill that need by looking for the toy drive’s trees or wreaths in the Campus Center, Culkin Hall, Hewitt Union, King Hall, Laker Hall, Mahar Hall, the Parking Office, Penfield Library, Rich Hall and Sheldon Hall. Participants selected a paper ornament with a child’s name, gender and age, and then purchased a toy appropriate to that child and leave it, unwrapped, in a toy drive box.

“SUNY Oswego’s Beta Alpha Psi has been a big part of the program,” Green said of the accounting and finance honor society. “They go to hall council meetings as well as help with putting up the trees.”

Students all over campus take part in purchasing toys for those less fortunate. “In the past we have had students take up collections and go to Wal-Mart,” Green said. “Others just get together and go out on shopping sprees. Without the generosity of the students, this program wouldn’t be successful. It really is a collaborative effort.”

Now in its 20th year of spreading cheer, the toy drive also provides an opportunity for members of the campus community to give back. Green would attest that giving really can make the holidays happier.

“The boy took his yellow dump truck into show and tell the week after,” Green remembered the mother telling her. “And if it hadn’t been for the toy drive, he would have been empty-handed. It’s a heartwarming story.”

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PHOTO CAPTION: Holiday wishes—Penfield Library clerk Marion Green (center), who coordinates the 20th annual SUNY Oswego Holiday Toy Drive, gets help decorating a tree in the library from junior adolescence education major Brody Mapes (left) and Linze Lucas, a senior creative writing major and library loan student employee. The tree’s decorations include papers with information on local children for whom members of the campus community may purchase toys.

(Posted: Nov 28, 2007)