The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest News

November 25, 2012

Toy fund means as much to volunteers as kids

— With more than 4,000 underprivileged children served in Raleigh County last year, the effect Mac’s Toy Fund has on families in need is astounding.

But beyond those numbers, Mac’s Toy Fund “means every bit as much for the volunteers as it does for the kids who get the toys. It’s not all about the receiving, it’s about the giving and helping,” explained toy fund vice president Pete Torrico.

Torrico began, like many of Mac’s helpers, as a Boy Scout.

Today his mother, who fondly bore the title “The Doll Lady” for her work refurbishing dolls for many years, as well as his siblings and nieces, kick off their own family Christmas celebration by helping to prepare for the Mac’s Toy Fund distribution party.

But that’s more common than not among volunteers, he said.

“Every year as soon as the first story runs in The Register-Herald, people are calling and wanting to volunteer. There are people I see only once a year — the day of the distribution party,” he shared. “Each year we have people volunteering for the first time and people who have been devoted for decades.”

He sees men who volunteered as Scouts and are now Scout leaders bringing their troops to the distribution party.

“The thing that really inspires me is how many volunteers are kids that were once served by Mac’s Toy Fund,” Torrico said.

“The need has never diminished. It seems like every year we send out more and more invitations, but the contributions and willing volunteers have also grown alongside that need.”

Sherrie Hunter, who has been the fund’s treasurer since 1992, explained that, for her, seeing “random acts of kindness” each year is what keeps her dedicated to the project.

Like all volunteers at the distribution party, Hunter can share many stories from the past, each one touching and evocative of what The Holiday Spirit should be.

She distinctly remembers a young redheaded boy whose parents let him go through the line and choose his toys himself while they watched from above in the convention center.

“We escort people through and they get to choose a new toy, a used toy, a stuffed animal, a doll and a bag of fruit and nuts. At the end of the line families can pick a winter coat.

“This young boy said to me, ‘Miss Sherrie, it was really cold this morning when we were in line. Before I get my toys, can I pick out a coat for my mom first?’”

Hunter said it is moments like those that make the bustling, talking and noise fall away.

“I told him that he was a very special young man for putting his mother’s needs before his own and for being selfless,” she explained.

From one little girl who fell in love with a simple rag doll amid a table of pristine and primped dolls to the family that shares their bike ticket with a family that does not already have a bike, it is the countless small moments of selflessness and gratitude that have the largest impact on volunteers’ hearts.

“To think that one person — Mr. Ted ‘Mac’ McDowell — had the idea to start a toy fund 82 years ago and today thousands and thousands of people have had Christmas in their homes and hearts, is inspiring. It tells us that what we do can make a difference,” Hunter added.

To make a monetary donation to Mac’s Toy Fund, mail checks to Mac’s Toy Fund, P.O. Box 2398, Beckley, WV 25802.

Used toys and dolls should be dropped off at BJW Printing and Office Supplies, 3100 Robert C. Byrd Drive, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Used bikes can be dropped off behind the right side of the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center on North Eisenhower Drive or at Beckley Fire Station No. 3, also on North Eisenhower.

New or gently used coats can be dropped off at Family Coin Laundry on Robert C. Byrd Drive.

This year’s Mac’s Toy Fund Distribution Party is scheduled for Dec. 15; invitations will be sent by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services; postage is paid by the toy fund.

— E-mail:

Text Only
Latest News
  • twv play 2 Season’s curtain call

    Tonight is the last chance to see Theatre West Virginia Act II’s production of “Hatfields and McCoys,” a 17-show season many thought would never happen.


    August 2, 2014 2 Photos

  • Alpha says reducing coal stockpiles could prevent layoffs

    An Alpha Natural Resources spokesman said Friday that the company is “hopeful” that coal stockpiles can be sold in the next few months so the company can avoid laying off more than 1,100 surface coal miners and other support personnel by mid-October. 

    August 2, 2014

  • Congress quick-fix: Highways funded through mid-2015

    Hours before the federal government was set to reduce payments to states for road and bridge projects, Congress approved a temporary fix late Thursday night that would maintain funding through the middle of next year.

    But in some ways, the damage already had been done.

    August 2, 2014

  • makeawish Selling stars: A dollar helps grant a child's wish

    Make-A-Wish and the West Virginia Oil Marketers and Grocers Association (OMEGA) are partnering to sell “wish stars” at grocery and convenience stores throughout the state. You can get a star for $1 through the month of August. All money raised will go to making children’s wishes come true.

    August 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • W.Va., 11 other states, ask Supreme Court to declare new EPA rules illegal

    Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said Friday that West Virginia led a bipartisan group of 12 states that are asking the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., to declare illegal a settlement agreement in which the EPA promised to issue its now-pending rule concerning existing coal-fired power plants.

    August 1, 2014

  • Ebola outbreak moving faster than control efforts

    An Ebola outbreak that has killed more than 700 people in West Africa is moving faster than efforts to control the disease, the head of the World Health Organization warned as presidents from the affected countries met Friday in Guinea's capital.

    August 1, 2014

  • Oak Hill man arrested for selling drugs to police officers

    A Fayette County man is in jail after his arrest Thursday evening for several drug offenses, according to a press release from the Fayette County Sheriff's Office.

    August 1, 2014

  • Suspect arrested, faces felony charges following shooting incident

    A Mercer County man was arrested and arraigned on felony charges Thursday after a domestic altercation led to a shooting incident in the Montcalm area of Mercer County.

    August 1, 2014

  • pittsburgh rally 5,000 rally in Pittsburgh against EPA Clean Power Plan

    The echo of people chanting, “Hey, hey, EPA, don’t take our jobs away” could be heard in downtown Pittsburgh Thursday. The voices came from about 5,000 United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) members and their families, along with other unions such as the Boilermakers and the Brotherhood of Electrical Workers International (IBEW), marching through the streets.


    August 1, 2014 1 Photo 3 Stories

  • Alpha plans to idle coal workers

    Approximately 1,100 employees at 11 Alpha Resources-affiliated surface mines, preparation plants and other support operations in southern West Virginia got notice late Thursday afternoon that their jobs could be in jeopardy.


    August 1, 2014