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Mt. Pleasant area toy drive aims to meet rising need

| Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, 10:15 p.m.
Mt. Pleasant Journal
Nadia Speney (foreground), an employee at O'Rourke Crystal and Antique Glass, stands near a Christmas tree at the local business adorned with 'Treasures for Children' wish list tags distributed by (background, from left) the Rev. Dale Porterfield, chairman of the Salvation Army's Mt. Pleasant Service Unit, and Marianne Bailey, a longtime unit volunteer. in a photo taken Friday, Nov. 9, 2012. A.J. Panian | Mt. Pleasant Journal

No less than 200 needy children throughout the Mt. Pleasant area see a brighter holiday season when they receive toys and other gifts collected during the annual Christmas Toy Drive conducted by the Salvation Army's Mt. Pleasant Service Unit, said the Rev. Dale Porterfield, the unit's chairman and pastor of the Community Church of Hecla.

This year, more children are signed up for the organization's drive than ever before, Porterfield said.

“We have 300 children signed up this year,” said Porterfield, of Mt. Pleasant. “That is definitely more than we've ever had.”

For that reason, Porterfield said he is particularly appreciative of efforts like those being put forth by the staff at O'Rourke Cut Glass & Gifts.

The business owned by Peter O'Rourke, the renowned cut glass and crystal artist, will hold its own toy drive starting today to benefit the Salvation Army's initiative.

That drive — organized by Nadia Speney, the business' product marketing manager — is scheduled to begin today at the business located at the Mt. Pleasant Glass Center at 402 E. Main St. in Mt. Pleasant.

“I'm just glad to be involved,” said Speney, of Port Vue, who was hired last summer at the business. “Nobody's against giving to people in need.”

That is the hope of Marianne Bailey, of Mt. Pleasant, a longtime Salvation Army volunteer and chairperson of the toy drive.

“We have more people in need now, but people who usually give have less, too,” Bailey said. “Anyone who can help, at all, is truly appreciated.”

Speney has set up a large, drop-off box decorated in red, white and green wrapping paper in the store with the hope that patrons stopping in might consider offering a wrapped toy donation.

“They're also welcome to drop off any store-bought toy, (they are) encouraged, even,” Speney said.

Patrons who donate will be entered into a drawing to win two tickets to the Pittsburgh Steelers' home game vs. the Cleveland Browns on Dec. 30. A drawing for the tickets will be held Dec. 23.

Next to the box is a Christmas tree adorned with 20 “Treasures for Children” wish list tags distributed by the Salvation Army.

Each of the tags include the first name, age, clothing size and specific gift request of a child from a family who signed up to benefit from the Salvation Army's drive. The tag also includes a due date for when it the requested gift is produced.

“I'm hoping donors will bring back the tag because I would like to keep it with the gift,” Speney said.

The store received the tags along with several other businesses including Walmart, Diamond Pharmacy, Smillie's Restaurant, S&T Banks in Mt. Pleasant and East Huntingdon and several area churches and other organizations

Participants will turn over all toys collected to the Salvation Army on Dec. 12 for distribution by Salvation Army officials to those in need from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 13 at Community Church of Hecla in Southwest, Speney said.

Speney said O'Rourke Cut Glass & Gifts continue to collect toys from willing donors through Dec. 14-15, at which time they will again be distributed to the Salvation Army for the organization's second planned giveaway from 10 a.m. to noon Dec. 15 at the Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church, or the Town Clock church, at 645 W. Main St. in Mt. Pleasant.

A.J. Panian is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-547-5722 or