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Record-breaking amount of money, toys pour in after recent Toys for Tots fire

'The response has been unbelievable,’ says organizer
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Posted at 5:27 PM, Dec 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-14 18:19:40-05

SHERRODSVILLE, Ohio — Without missing a beat, cars lined up Tuesday outside the Calvary United Methodist Church in Sherrodsville for a Toys for Tots distribution.

“Anybody that shows up gets a toy,” coordinator Bob Stratton said. “We don’t care if they’re from the moon, if they show up, they get a toy.”

It all comes one week after a fire destroyed $8,000 worth of toys stored inside a Carroll County warehouse.

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The aftermath of a building fire in Carroll County that destroyed $8,000 worth of Toys for Tots donations for children in Tuscarawas County.

Since then, organizers told News 5 that toy donations and monetary donations have been coming at a record pace.

“We get 40-50 letters a day with checks in them,” Stratton said, pointing to letters from as far as Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky.

In fact, organizers at the Calvary United Methodist Church Toys for Tots location said they’ve collected more than $73,000 in cash donations through just this past Saturday, compared to usually collecting a little less than $10,000 in a given year.

On Sunday, Simpson Heating & Air in New Philadelphia held its scheduled toy drive for Toys for Tots; an event planned before the fire but ignited to a whole new level after the fire.

“Nobody was dropping off two toys, everyone was dropping off carloads,” Steve VanHorn at Simpson Heating & Air said.

“We think we have about 18,000 toys before today from donation and match donations, but we just unloaded an entire semi from Walmart,” Chad Simpson at Simpson Heating & Air said.

“The $8,000 has been recouped eight, 10, 15 times over,” VanHorn added. “We’ve already committed to helping some surrounding communities that were impacted by the success of our toy drive. In the end, we want no kid in the Tuscarawas Valley left without a toy.”

Inside a warehouse in Tuscarawas County, chalk on the floor divides the toys collected as part of the recent Toys for Tots fundraiser, as pallets from a local Walmart continue to come in.

“This is my Christmas,” Stratton added. “I don’t really need anything. To see the smile on kids' faces is well worth it.

If you’re interested in donating, organizers with Tuscarawas County Toys for Tots told News 5 their chapter is in great shape, but they encourage individuals to help other chapters or to donate their time to help sort through toys by contacting Simpson Heating & Air in New Philadelphia.