You are here

A Family Mission

Imagine this: One email and suddenly you’ve got hundreds of toys stacked high in your garage. That’s what happens twice a year for the Savage family in New Jersey. People from all over the school district swing by the Savage residence to unload a car or van full of toys. The family, along with teenage friends of their two sons, cleans the toys and delivers them to organizations in need.

The family’s interest in Second Chance Toys began when they started looking for a charity to volunteer with that could work around their hectic schedule. Anyone who has two teenage sons knows that there’s never a dull moment. With a different game or activity each night, it can be hard to nail down a regular time to volunteer somewhere. That’s not a problem with Second Chance Toys. Collections are run on the collector’s terms, so working the drive into their busy schedule was much easier.

For their first-ever toy drive, the Savages had the smart idea to ask their sons’ school district to include a note about their collection in an email sent to every parent in their (very large) school district. Little did they know just how effective this email would be! In no time, their two-car garage was stacked high with close to 1,000 toys. That year the toys were going to a local Head Start location, so the Savages loaded the toys into a rented Uhaul and made the delivery. As they hauled the toys into the conference room, teachers from Head Start stood sobbing from the generous donation. That remains a favorite and cherished memory of the Savage Family.

Another favorite moment came when they were delivering toys to a Catholic Charities location. The toys were being placed in an all-purpose space with glass walls. The children stood at the walls watching with excitement and anticipation as they brought each toy into the room.

Memories like those make it easy and exciting to hold the drive each year. This year marks the 5th year the Savages have worked with Second Chance Toys. After that first successful year, 1-800-GOT-JUNK volunteered their services and now provides transport for the toys.

Although it’s certainly far from the reason they started volunteering with Second Chance Toys, the Savage’s successful toy drives have even given them some local notoriety. Their newspaper did a write up about their efforts one year, and mother Bonnie Savage recalls sitting at a school site council meeting once, listening to the principal boast about the great toy collection that students were running—only to realize that he was talking about her sons!

Thanks to the continuing generous donations from the families in the South Brunswick School District, and the hard work and smart planning on behalf of the Savages, they’ve been able to collect, clean, and deliver close to 5,000 toys to children in need in New Jersey so far.