RUTLAND - For the second year in a row, one of Rutland's most radio stations collected new toys for local underserved children. For two days, Dec 5-6, staffers from radio station Z-97 were at Deport Park in downtown Rutland working to meet beat their 2007 quota by exceeding a total of 600 toys to fill an ultraclean dumpster donated by Casella Waste Management.
J.D. Redman, Z-97 program director, happily reported that the radio station exceeded its holiday toy goal.
Amanda Begins, Z-97 promotions director, said "We reached our goal; our goal was to break last year's record which was between 500-600 stuffed animals and toys. This year we collected over 650. Plus more folks keep calling and asking us if they can still to donate. We also received over $100 in and gift certificates combined. This year we collected an amazing variety of toys. Everything from toys for infants, to Barbie dolls, teddy bears, trucks, board games and even a power wheels."
Z-97 radio personality Frankie G. said, "WSYB has its Christmas Fund, WJJR has Stuff-a-Bus and now Z-97 has stepped up with its Stuffed Animal Shelter-a drive specifically for children of our community. We collect toys to give to children in the community who may not otherwise have presents this holiday season."
Begins was surprised by the generoisty of strangers.
"Never in my wildest dreams did I think that this drive would get so big and effect so many local people," she said. "We just thought, 'Hey let's start a toy drive and help out some kids in need'-well, it really took off from there."
The radio station staff thanked Casella Waste Management for providing a giant, clean container for holding the collected stuffed animals and toys. They also thanked several other local business and agenciess-Garden Time in Rutland, for providing a shelter for staying out of the cold, Wal-Mart for providing hot chocolate, the Rutland Parks and Recreation Dept., Rutland City Police, and the Party Store. Evewry memebr of the Catamount Radio staff pitched in to make this event a big success.
Broc-Community Action of Southwestern Vermont is in charge of distributing the Z-97 toys to children who show signs of special need this holiday season.
"Though Stuffed Animal Shelter had humble beginnings, this year we truly saw the impact," Z-97's Begins said. "We had a person donate to the Stuffed Animal Shelter this year with a nice story. The anonymous donor's own children benefited from the shelter last year; now it was her turn to donate to someone else. This was a very touching act of kindness."
Here's another act of kindness from this year's stuffed animal drive: A young girl from Rutland named Felicia gave away some of her gently used toys; she wrote a note to her mother and the radio station staff explaining that "I want to share with children whose parents can't afford presents." Felicia's letter was posted on the shelter wall during the campaign. Its message won't be forgotten in this year's holiday rush.
Z-97 is still collecting toys, stuffed animals, gift cards, money gifts. For details call Amanda Begins, at 802-775-7620 or e-mail her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.