Stuff the Bus campaign to bring toys to youngsters

Rather than searching for the hottest sales in the region, members of the South Colonie School District spent much of Black Friday collecting items for the Toys for Tots campaign.

A lot of people have given [items] and a lot of people have given money, said Mary King, a bus driver in the district who has been with the district's Stuff the Bus program, which is held to benefit Toys For Tots, since it's inception.

She said bags of toys were beginning to fill the school bus parked outside of Kohls off of Central Avenue.

"I feel that at least I know the children are getting a Christmas," King said. "Every child deserves a present under the tree."

King said moving the operation to the front of Kohls, as opposed to the back where it was last year, has helped with donations, and she is glad to see them up from last year with an increased demand on charitable services.

Toys For Tots is sponsored by the Marine Corps and provides close to 60,000 children with toys in the Capital District, according to the school district. New, unwrapped toys are collected in November and December and provided to needy children for the holidays.

Marine Lance Cpl. Kevin Fuller, a veteran of the war in Iraq and resident of Niskayuna, said he was glad to be a part of the event and wanted to give back to the community.

"The community supported us while we were deployed," Fuller said. "Now we have a chance to support them. I want to pay it forward."

"We'll take as many [toys] as we can get," said Marine Pfc. Sean Church, of East Nassau.

The Stuff the Bus event had two parts, according to the district.

The public portion took place Friday, Nov. 27,with the school buses stationed at Northway Mall and Kohl's Plaza on Central Avenue collecting toys throughout the day.

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