Many stop by Miracle Mile to help 'Stuff a Bus' for kids

| Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, 8:49 a.m.

The spirit of giving was at the heart of the Monroeville business district last week.

The ninth annual Stuff-a-Bus project at Miracle Mile Shopping Center drew toy donations from residents and businesses throughout the Pittsburgh area.

Five days of donation are hosted each year by the 96.1-FM Kiss Morning Freak Show, which airs live from the Miracle Mile parking lot during the toy drive. Hosts Mike Dougherty and Bob Mason — aka Mikey and Big Bob — camp out in the parking lot each year.

“It's more fun than an average day in the office,” Mason said. “You don't know who is going to show up from minute to minute.”

Nearly 35 school buses were filled with toys, with help from Monroeville firefighters, who donated about $3,000 worth of toys, said Ron Harvey, fire chief for Monroeville Company 5. And there were countless individuals, such as Kim Calloway, 42, of Monroeville.

“It's about the kids,” said Calloway, who showed up last week to donate.

A bus from California University of Pennsylvania also arrived with $7,000 worth of toys.

“It's a tradition every year to try to increase our goal,” said Cal U student Chelsea Getsy, 19, of Plum.

Getsy challenged Dougherty to a race on children's bicycles. Dougherty, who stands about 6-foot-8, was beaten handily.

“We gotta do things like that to keep our sanity out here,” Dougherty said.

Mason's frequent naps became a source of entertainment for Dougherty, who buried him in toys while he slept.

Donations were delivered to the local Toys for Tots headquarters in North Versailles, which serves communities throughout southeastern Allegheny County. As of last week, about 20,000 toys had been donated to the center, said U.S. Marine Staff Sergeant James Lawracy. He is coordinating a Toys for Tots donation center for the first time.

“I have a 4-year-old daughter, so I can understand where people are coming from.”

The first Toys for Tots was organized in 1947 by Major Bill Hendricks, of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves, according to the Toys for Tots website. The program since has spread to more than 700 communities throughout the U.S.

“It's pretty humbling,” Lawracy said.

Kyle Lawson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8755, or

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