DeGRAFF – Tyler Slaven, an agri-business graduate of the University of Northwestern Ohio in Lima, spearheaded an annual statewide toy drive along with his sister Monica and many volunteers.
This year’s effort brought in a record of 22,822 toys which were distributed among patients in Nationwide Children’s Hospital for Christmas. Throughout the seven years since the start of this toy drive, nearly 70,000 toys have been donated to children who don’t get to be home for Christmas.
Slaven recently moved from his hometown of DeGraff to pursue a job with the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) in Ashland, Ohio. However, he and his sister still worked together this season to surpass their previous records.
“We have done this for seven years now,” said Slaven. “This is something my sister and I started when we were in high school together. We both enjoyed being around kids and we wanted to do something special. We had a lot to be thankful for including our health and well being and we got to thinking about how not everybody has that blessing. We tried to reach those who may not be in a positive situation for Christmas. We wanted to brighten their spirits. Last year we dropped a little bit due to COVID and our resources were limited. We were thankful to still be able to do the drive for the kids. We bounced back this year and had our best year yet.”
Slaven said Ohio Virtual Academy, where he graduated high school, has been a huge help throughout the years.
“Being a statewide school, we have been able to make this toy drive a statewide effort. It is neat to see it grow each year. It is neat to see how the communities in Ohio have worked together for this specific cause,” he said.
“One of my biggest memories is the level of generosity I have seen from the community and some of the stories we have heard from families,” said Slaven. “We have seen a very touching level of generosity from people of all ages, children and adults.”
Monetary donations can be made throughout the year, it is never too early to prepare for next year’s toy drive.
To access the online donation page, visit https://tinyurl.com/ybalnwxw. Information can also be found on Facebook.
Reach Anna at (937) 508-2303