Imagine a Christmas without presents. It may seem harsh, but for many children, it’s exactly what would happen – without Gene & Donna Weller, and their Toys for Tots volunteers. Thanks to them, every child in Centre County can have a truly Merry Christmas.
Every year, Centre County Toys for Tots coordinates more than 1000 volunteers who wrap 15,000 presents in just four days. It’s quite a sight – the wrapping process takes up a whole floor of the Penn Stater Conference Center. Christmas carols are playing, and the Christmas spirit of love and giving is everywhere. It’s the closest thing to Santa’s Workshop this side of the North Pole.
Every child in the program gets 4 gifts. There’s even pre-planned extra presents available for children who weren’t previously signed up through one of the local food banks. And it doesn’t just stop at toys: starting 5 years ago, the Centre County Toys for Tots also began collecting food donations for our local food banks to help hungry families around Christmas and throughout the year.
None of this would be possible without Gene Weller and his wife Donna. Gene is an Allstate Insurance agent and a retired Major from the US Marine Corps who served more than 30 years on active duty and in the reserves. He has been coordinator of Centre County Toys for Tots since 1986 – 27 years this year.
Every year, in addition to running his business, Gene and Donna donate hundreds of hours of their time to the children and their families, keeping the spirit of Christmas alive with their hard work and dedication. They start planning for Toys for Tots as early as spring, and keep things running throughout the year. They’re the glue that keeps Centre County Toys for Tots together.
This holiday season, we want to thank Gene, Donna, and all the Toys for Tots volunteers and donors for all the good you do in our community. You keep the spirit of Christmas alive with your kindness and giving. You are what Christmas is all about. Thank you.