Originally published in the Bellefontaine Examiner – December 22, 2017
It took a U-Haul truck and a crew of volunteers to transport several thousand toys to Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus last weekend, the culmination of an effort spearheaded by a local teen to help spread Christmas joy to children and their families at the hospital.
DeGraff area resident Tyler Slaven, who is a student at Ohio Virtual Academy and serves as president of the school’s Agricultural Society, said this is the third year and biggest year yet for the statewide toy drive that was organized by the OHVA’s Agricultural Society, with a local drop site at the Marketplace Café in Bellefontaine.
“We had an amazing turn out. We were able to provide a toy for 3,000 children,” Tyler said in an e-mail. “This is nearly triple the amount of kids we were able to reach last year.
“It is really unfortunate that these children have to be in the hospital, let alone during Christmastime. The least we can do is try to brighten their day, and put a smile on their face, by providing them a toy on Christmas morning.”
His sister and OHVA graduate Monica first organized the toy drive project in 2015, and again helped with the effort this year. Tyler said he and his sister visited many businesses within Logan County to ask for their support.
After collections for the effort began, Tyler noted that one of the issues became how to the transport the large number of toys that were being donated to the Columbus hospital. However, a local businessman helped solve that problem and provided a helping hand as well.
“The owner of Lane Lube Express in Bellefontaine donated the use of one of his U-Haul trucks. He volunteered to pay for the renting expenses, fuel costs and his personal time. He and his wife actually met me Sunday morning at my house to personally help load the toys and drive them to the hospital.