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Toys for Tots provides joy at Christmas

| Friday, Nov. 25, 2005

For the last 16 years, Wally Fronzaglio has spent his holidays campaigning for kids.

Fronzaglio, a former U.S. Marine, leads the Mon Valley Leatherneck's Toys for Tots program.

The Donora resident, his fellow Leathernecks and a crew of volunteers set up toy donation boxes at Valley businesses during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season with hopes of brightening the lives of unfortunate youths.

Fronzaglio also collects monetary donations throughout the year that he uses locally to purchase thousands of toys as Christmas approaches.

The big day will come Dec. 17 at the Rostraver Township Central Fire Department on Route 201. Beginning at 10 a.m., children will be taken into the fire hall one by one so they can hand-pick the toys they want.

Last year, approximately 1,050 children took home about 5,500 toys, Fronzaglio said. He said roughly $24,000 in gifts was given away.

Fronzaglio said he is grateful the effort is on track again this year, despite many charity dollars being directed away from the Valley to hurricane relief efforts.

So far, the Toys for Tots drive has generated about $16,000 in donations, Fronzaglio said.

Fronzaglio said donations from local businesses and contributions and volunteerism from residents has allowed the program to grow.

He said the Belle Vernon Area High School Interact Club has been a constant in helping the charity drive.

This year, the Ringgold High School Interact Club has joined the effort.

Through Dec. 16, toy drop boxes will be located at various Valley businesses.

Fronzaglio said donated toys should be taken out of their packages before they are dropped off.

The toys can be used, but should be in almost new condition, he said. Clothing, jewelry and perfume are not accepted as donations; neither are toys with weapons or plastic guns.

Fronzaglio said he has sacrificed most of his free time during the holidays to make the toy drive a success.

He said his payoff is meeting the children when the gifts are handed out and "seeing their faces when they receive the toys."

Those wishing to benefit from the Toys for Tots program can pick up registration forms at the following locations:

- The law offices of Bigi, Duronio & Walsh at 337 Fallowfield Ave., Charleroi.

- The Monongahela Ford Company on Fourth Street.

- Bill's Golfland on Route 51 in Rostraver Township.

- The NAACP office at Eastgate 11 in Monessen.

- The Donora Welfare Office on Galiffa Drive.

Parents who wish to qualify for the program must bring registration forms and identification to the event, along with proof that they are recipients of social services.

Fronzaglio said an important day in fundraising for the program will be Dec. 4, when the Leathernecks will conduct a tag day outside of businesses in Rostraver Township's Tri County Plaza.

Donation checks must be made out to "Toys for Tots" and can be sent to Wally Fronzaglio, 202 Brokaw Ave., Donora, 15033.

To volunteer for the toy drive or for more information, contact Fronzaglio at (724) 379-8888 or (724) 797-3824.

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