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Toy for Joy distribution begins Monday; donations still needed

SPRINGFIELD — There are less than two weeks until Christmas and the Toy for Joy campaign is still in need of $114,123 to reach its goal of $150,000 to provide toys for families in need in Western Massachusetts.

“We try not to turn any family away who needs toys,” said Springfield Salvation Army Lt. Emmanuel Villegas, who along with Danielle LaTaille, social services director for the Salvation Army, interacts with families when they register and when they pick up toys for their children.

Toy for Joy, a collaborative effort by the Salvation Army in association with The Republican, El Pueblo Latino and MassLive, provides gifts to children in Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin counties.

In its 97th year, the campaign is joined by media partners at Reminders Publishing and The Westfield News. Its community partners include the Irene E. and George A. Davis Foundation, Pride Stores and Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi.

Distribution will begin in Springfield on Monday and will continue Tuesday and Wednesday. Pickup is from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each day.

“As we prepare for next week’s distribution of toys and gifts to families across the region, our readers and donors should know that the bulk of the presents have already been purchased, and funds are needed to cover the costs incurred,” said Cynthia G. Simison, assistant to the publisher and managing editor of The Republican. “As it has been for decades, Toy for Joy is a success because of the generosity of so many, from school children, to individuals, from major corporations to workplace groups. Our region is better at the holiday season because of support.”

Families coming to pick up their gifts at each of the Salvation Army sites are reminded they must bring IDs in order to receive their books and other presents, Simison said. Families were also given a ticket with a number on it. They should bring that ticket with them in order to make the pickup process quick and easy, Villegas said.

Toy for Joy got a boost in donations this year from Toys for Tots, a program run by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve.

“We are so happy to work with Toys for Tots this year and are excited for our client families to receive all the wonderful gifts they donated to our Toy for Joy program,” LaTaille said.

Contributions from individuals, companies or groups may be mailed with the coupon accompanying this story to The Republican, 1860 Main St., Springfield, MA 01101. They may also be dropped off in person on weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. at The Republican offices.

Online donations may be made at

Here is a list of recent contributions:

Maintain $25

In memory of Grandpa Dave and Nana Bridie. Love, Pat and Bren $25

Joan and Bob Thomas $100

Merry Christmas from Finn $30

Joanne and Keith $30

From a friend $25

For my beautiful Christmas blessings, Gigi, Ben, Kaspian, Leo and Elodie $25

In memory of Tucker Moran $20

Jane and Ted $200

In memory of Doris Jamilkowski $100

In memory of loved ones $20

Merry Christmas in heaven to Vo-Vo Joe, Vo-Vo Binda and Vo-Vo Lilly. Love, Cole and Ava $25

In memory of the Lavelle, Sieron and Skorka families $25

Merry Christmas from Patrice $100

Merry 1st Christmas to my wonderful great-granddaughter, Charlotte Elizabeth Stone $100

In memory of Frances Stitzinger $15

The AnFang family $25

Anonymous $30

For Elizabeth with love from Grandma Kelleher $50

Anonymous $15

In loving memory of Jess, Dad, David, Kenneth and Ronald $300

Merry Christmas from Jim, Judy, Chris, Kim, Nick, Josh, Jeff, Sarah and Casey $300

From BB and Colby, Woofity Woof $10

In loving memory of Raymond $25

Carolyn Callahan $25

In memory of Tiz and Gus. Love, Aimee $25

Happy anniversary Faye and Mario $50

In memory of Victor and Jennie Paluck and Stephanie Collins from family $100

Merry Christmas from Sunday Money Makers $75

In loving memory of parents, John and Josephine Szumny from family $25

In loving memory of Jill Stefanik from Cioci June and Uncle Eddie $25

In memory of Mae Egan $10

Anonymous $25

Merry Christmas from Abel’s dad $50

From Valentine, Jax, Georgeie, Theo and Frankie $50

In honor of all our first responders, remembering those who lost their lives $75

Received: $2,155

Total to date: $35,877

Still needed: $114,123

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