photo by: Emma Delk
TRIADELPHIA — Legos, dolls, Play-Doh and more filled the Straub Hyundai showroom at The Highlands as employees and customers gathered to donate the over 250 toys they collected for Toys for Tots.
A $1,000 check was also given to the program by the dealership, the funds for which were provided through a raffle to win a Honda Motocompacto Scooter.
Describing the month-long toy drive as employees “having an idea and sticking with it,” Executive Manager of Straub Automotive Bryan Fato commended his employees for not only their generous donations but for coming up with the idea to hold a drive.
“The team members wanted to do something to give back to the community, and we know that Christmas can be especially stressful for many families,” explained Fato. “This allows us to partner with Toys for Tots in order to be able to provide some Christmas joy for underprivileged children throughout Christmas.”
The toys collected will go straight into the hands of kids on Dec. 18, when Toys for Tots will distribute them. Marine Corps League Commandant Fred Brunner explained that each child will receive a number that will correspond to a bag filled with toys.
“We try to be as generous as we can with the toys, so getting donations as big as this one really helps us out,” noted Brunner.
With this being the first time in 12 years the Marine Corps League has held the Toys for Tots program, Brunner was thrilled to see local organizations and businesses become so invested and involved.
“We really thought it would be a touch-and-go thing,” explained Brunner. “As you can see from today, the response has been fantastic.”
Seeing the Toys for Tots drive as a way to funnel employees’ giving spirit, Fato said team members engaged in some friendly competition throughout the drive to see who could give the most.
Employee involvement in the drive went beyond the donations, as some team members showed up in costume on Friday to spread the Christmas spirit. Santa Claus, the Grinch and the “Chicken Man” from “Toy Story 2” paid a visit to Straub Automotive, with the Grinch taking the Motocompacto Scooter for a spin around the dealership after employee Kevin Cook was announced as the winner of the raffle for it.
“Kevin isn’t in today, but he’ll be happy to know about his big win when he’s back,” said Fato.
Beyond employees giving their talent and treasure for the drive, Straub Automotive customers became involved as well. Any customer who donated a toy during the month-long drive received a discount from the dealership.
“There’s an awful lot here, and it’s truly a testament to not only our employees but also our customers,” said Fato while surveying their end haul.
With more than 250 employees and customers contributing to the drive by its end, Fato did not even know the end count of how many toys were donated. Seeing the success of the first year of the drive, Fato added they already had plans for next year in the works.
“We’re kind of going to play it by ear, maybe something a little different, maybe the same,’ he said. “We’re certainly going to continue having a donation drive every year.”
Being able to channel his employees’ charitable efforts is important to Fato, as he was touched by the time and money his team members put into the drive this year.
“One of the things that we look for whenever we’re hiring people is ‘Are they good people?'” said Fato. “I believe this is the ultimate testament to that, for them to be just so generous in giving for this is fantastic.”
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