DEGRAFF — He found a way. Not even a pandemic could stop Tyler Slaven and his annual Toy Drive. On December 13, he dropped off a truckload of 11,502 toys to the Columbus Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Due to pandemic concerns, he had received clearance from the hospital to conduct the drive just a week and a half before.
A resident of DeGraff, Slaven, 19, has collected over 46,000 toys in the last 6 years with his annual toy drive. Each year all the toys from his drive are donated to Columbus Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
Slaven actually broke the record twice for most toys donated to the hospital, first in 2018 with 9,200 toys and then he broke his own record the next year with 20,300 toys. In 2015, when he started the drive, he collected 800 toys and then in 2016 he donated 1,700 toys, followed by 3,000 toys in 2017.
“We have personally known a great deal of people in our local community, as well as across the state, who have had young children in Nationwide Children’s throughout the year and around the holidays,” Slaven said, adding that he spent time in the Columbus hospital as a baby.
“The annual (Ohio Virtual Academy) Toy Drive for Nationwide Children’s Hospital is not just an ordinary toy drive,” he said. “It truly goes much deeper than that. Six years ago my sister Monica was a senior and I was a freshman at Ohio Virtual Academy.”
He said he and his sister wanted to embark on a mission that would make a difference.
“After giving it a lot of thought, we decided we wanted to put smiles on as many children’s faces that were in the hospital during Christmas as we could,” Slaven said. “It has been a family tradition that all of my family is involved with each year.
“The school both Monica and I attended, Ohio Virtual Academy, has been heavily involved in helping promote the word and help organize teachers and students who are willing to participate in helping join the communities together. My younger siblings Braydon (13) and Payton (13), twins, are both students at OHVA. This has been something that so many people look forward to as a Christmas tradition”
In typical years, toy drop-off sites are announced in many counties, including in Champaign County.
“It is never too late to jump on board,” Slaven said. The following PayPal link allows people to donate funds throughout the year: https://tinyurl.com/ybalnwxw
Funds are used to purchase toys for hospitalized children for the next Christmas.
Reach Ron Brohm at UDCeditor@aimmediamidwest.com