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Charity train keeps chugging

They weren't hired by Santa, but they sure did help him out when over 25 Dunkin Donuts franchisees hit the aisles of the Wolf Road Toys R'Us on Monday, Nov. 16, to choose $20,000 worth of toys to give to children who might not have otherwise gotten any this holiday season.

Every year, the national Toys for Tots program, run by the Marine Corps., collects new toys for children during the holiday season. Distribution of the toys in New York came with an added pleasure as the Marines would drop off the toys after loading them all on a train provided by the Canadian Pacific Railway that would run from Binghamton to Plattsburgh on December 5 and 6.

In the past, this holiday train was paid for through sponsorship from a Wall Street investor, however, this year, due to the blighted economy, the investor was unable to provide the sponsorship to keep the train running.

After hearing that the train would not run without this sponsorship, Dunkin Donuts' local franchise decided to pick up sponsorship of the train, in addition to contributing $20,000 to purchase toys for the children.

We said, 'Let's donate the money and keep that train on its tracks,' said Eric Stensland, field marketing manager for Dunkin Donuts.

Stensland said the 25 Dunkin Donuts employees who came out to shop for the children on Monday, Nov. 16, were hoping to purchase enough toys to give to between 200 and 300 children.

Marine Gunnery Sgt. Albert Roman said the Marine group leading the effort at the Wolf Road Toys R' Us, stationed in Glenville, had hoped to collect 30,000 toys to be distributed on the train and about 120,000 toys to provide to children in the community.

With the help of Dunkin Donuts, Roman said this could be possible.

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