DEGRAFF – The Big R store in Lima donated over 200 toys to a toy drive being conducted by a brother/sister team from DeGraff. Tyler Slaven, a student at the University of Northwestern Ohio, and his sister Monica accepted the donation from Steve Cope, the manager of the Big R Lima Store.
The Slavens came up with the idea four years ago to collect toys for the kids at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus. “It’s really unfortunate that these children have to be in the hospital, let alone during Christmastime. The least we can do is try to brighten their day and put a smile on their face by providing them a toy on Christmas morning,” said Tyler Slaven.
The Slavens’ toy drive has grown every year, with 3,000 toys collected last year. This year they have set a goal to double that effort and collect 6,000 toys.
The Slavens put out many toy collection boxes in Lima and surrounding communities, including Urbana, Indian Lake, Sidney, Springfield, Mechanicsburg, Bellefontaine, Anna, Botkins, Zanesfield, West Liberty, St. Paris and others.
“In order to reach our goal of 6,000 toys, we greatly increased the number of toy collection boxes we put out this year versus last year. We had a handful of locations last year and over 25 locations this year,” said Slaven. “This year we also had several Santa events and bake sales to help with the toy donations.”
The Slaven brother/sister team has a loyal team of family and friends who pitch in and help them out with their toy drive, including volunteers from Ohio Virtual Academy Agricultural Society, of which Tyler is president.
“The community has been amazing, and their overwhelming support has just blown us away,” said Mandy Slaven, the siblings’ mother. “The kids have all worked so hard to make this happen. It truly takes a team effort to pitch in, right down to businesses saving their boxes for us to pack the toys into. Everyone, and I mean everyone, has just been simply amazing.”
Ron Brohm is a regular contributor to this newspaper.