State College, PA - Centre County - Central Pennsylvania - Home of Penn State University

Toys for Tots to Bring Joy to Hundreds of Children

by on December 12, 2014 6:30 AM

Just like Col. Hannibal Smith of the A-Team, State College real estate agent Eugene Weller says he loves it when a plan comes together.

But instead of working as a fictional mercenary in an 80’s TV show, the former Marine works to bring joy to underprivileged children all across Centre County by organizing the area’s annual Toys for Tots drive.

Weller says each year is a sprawling and hectic process, with each successive year becoming slightly more so as the charity drive consistently grows larger.

“When we started we only had 20 drop off points throughout the entire county,” Weller says. “Now we have over 250 collection sites, which is an increase from last year. It grows a little bit each year.”

Though the Toys for Tots drive is a holiday tradition, Weller's work begins long before the air turns frosty. Preliminary preparations begin as early as April, with his effort shifting into full gear by September and collections beginning the week after Thanksgiving.

This year, he expects to deliver somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,500 toys to children all over Centre County, which he says is an incredibly rewarding feeling.

Weller says the children that receive the gifts are identified through the food banks across the county. He adds that anyone who is unable to provide toys for their children will be able to receive assistance at the Toys for Tots station at Hills Plaza on South Atherton Street.

As Christmas moves closer and closer, Weller and has staff of loyal volunteers will transition from collecting gifts to wrapping them. He invites anyone and everyone to join them in their wrapping efforts, which will begin on Saturday at 2 p.m. the Penn State Conference Hotel.

He says all are welcome to come out on Sunday and Monday as well, when volunteers from the general public will help wrap gifts from 2 to 4 p.m. each day. Weller estimates that as many as 1,000 people show up to help wrap each year.

The public gift wrapping sessions contribute to the event's yearly growth, Weller says. He describes the atmosphere as happy and festive, and knows that many past wrapping volunteers have returned the next year with friends and families in tow.

Though the process is a practically year-round effort, it's a labor of love for Weller.

“It’s a lot of working getting all the paper and tape and boxes and bags and trucks and people in all the right places at the right times,” Weller says. “But I love it when a plan comes together.”

To make a donation or request a toy, click HERE.

Popular Stories:

Erickson: NCAA 'Wanted Blood' After Sandusky Scandal

Man Pleads Guilty to Making Pipe Bomb to Kill Wife's Lover

Police Warn Residents About Candy Laced with Prescription Drugs

NCAA Accuses Paterno Estate of Fighting Lawsuit in the Press

Judge Denies Request For Mediation Between Corman, NCAA

Penn State Trustees Clash Over NCAA Lawsuit

Emmert Tells CBS Sports NCAA Handled Penn State 'Very, Very Well'

Heirs Lose Court Battle Over Former College Heights Elementary School

Ranking the Top (and Bottom) 12 Penn State Quarterbacks to Transfer

Penn State Football: Quarterback Michael O'Connor Set To Transfer From Penn State

Penn State Basketball: Nittany Lions Hold Off Duquesne To Improve To 9-1

Penn State Hockey: Gadowsky Plays Down Early Season Success

Penn State Football: Conlan Inducted Into College Football Hall of Fame

Michael Martin Garrett is a reporter and editor for who covers local government, the courts, the arts and writes the Keeping the Faith column. He's a Penn State alumnus, a published poet and the bassist in a local indie rock band.
Next Article
Man Pleads Guilty to Making Pipe Bomb to Kill Wife's Lover
December 12, 2014 6:10 AM
by Staff
Man Pleads Guilty to Making Pipe Bomb to Kill Wife's Lover
Disclaimer: Copyright © 2020 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

order food online