Grace Church in Wooster, Ohio (Nick Cleveland, senior pastor), collected toys to be sent to those impacted by the tornados in Kentucky. Below is a story about their collection that appeared in the The Daily Record. See the original story here.
For an area toy drive for tornado victims in Mayfield, Ky., Grace Church recently bought 100 plastic totes at the Wooster Lowe’s store.
“The [Lowe’s] staff was helpful and enjoyed loading (the totes),” said Carlin Tiano, who is spearheading Grace Church’s part in the toy drive. “We bought 100, but will probably need more.
“We have at least 500 or 600 toys and will probably get more over the weekend during church services,” Carlin said on Friday. “We’re filling the totes full of toys and will leave them there because that’s what they need.”
On Wednesday, December 22, about 30 or 40 volunteers took the toys to children in the small southwestern Kentucky town that was hit hard by the December 11 tornadoes that swept through the state, killing more than 70 Kentuckians, on a charter bus that was donated for the effort.
Another 20-some volunteers wrapped unwrapped toys that were donated, and many other volunteers, including people not just from Grace Church, have helped in other ways, too, according to Carlin.
“It has been cool to see our community come through for this,” he said. “We have gotten financial donations from all over the place —businesses, individuals, and nonprofits. And families have been getting involved.
“We’re just happy that God is using us to provide some relief for people in need in Kentucky,” Carlin added.
Volunteers have bought toys for the drive with the financial donations, said Carlin, who added that Don Gatti, a church member passionate about these kind of aid missions, got the ball rolling on the toy drive.
“He owns a restoration construction company and deals with families going through their worst days like this,” Carlin said. “He posted about it on his Facebook page.”
And it just grew from there.
Don’s first post on the subject on December 11 reads: “Not sure how to pull it off or how much support the idea would get, but I would love to run a load of toys to Mayfield, Kentucky…That town got devastated. It would be fun to put a smile on a bunch of kids’ faces.”
Don said the response to his post more than doubled his expectations.
“It’s been pretty crazy,” Don said. “I think we are going to have somewhere in the neighborhood of $20,000 in donations and well over 500 toys.”
“Just so many unexpected people have been donating and saying they would be drop-off sites,” Don added.
Not only will the bus be taking volunteers from Grace Church, it also will be taking employees from Don’s business and friends from his hometown, Mount Eaton, who want to volunteer, too. Don said he will drive a truck and trailer with the toys and totes to Mayfield, Ky., with the bus of volunteers.
Don said he connected with a church in Mayfield, Grace Life Church, who planned to also distribute toys at the same time on December 23. Don said people at that church he has talked with say they “are packed to the gills with food, water, and other essentials.”
“They need more things like chain saws, shovels, and rakes to help with cleanup,” Don said.
While they didn’t mention toys as a need, Don said he remembers from one of the first fire restorations he did on December 23 eight years ago in Dover how appreciative the family was when he and his family brought presents to them at the hotel they were living in after the fire left them without their home for the holidays.
“I always remember the impact that had on my kids, who were pretty young then, to understand how fortunate they were that they didn’t lose everything,” Don said. “And I just have a soft spot for kids.”