With parents and grandparents doing the Christmas “shopping” for their children, nearly 1,200 youngsters were served during the 16th annual Wyoming County Toy Fund party Dec. 14 at Wyoming County East High School.

The Joe Stewart Family performed Christmas music, entertaining families while they waited to shop. Then, volunteer elves assisted the shoppers as they made selections from age-appropriate items.

Donations of cash and new toys were extremely tight this year, but organizers were able to provide a brighter Christmas for many children who might not have had toys under the tree without the Toy Fund.

Over the weekend, nearly 300 people, including students from both Westside and Wyoming County East high schools, provided support for the mammoth project. 

Volunteers included youngsters as well as senior citizens, with some from James Monroe High School, in Monroe County, and others from as far away as South Carolina.

“We had a lot of young people come out to help us,” noted Joe Bullington, Toy Fund vice president. “They were amazed how much happens in two days to get this thing under way.”

Bullington lauded the hard work of the volunteers.

“We wouldn’t be able to do this without the volunteers,” he emphasized.

Mullens Moose Club members moved the toys from storage to the high school.

“They move us every year,” Bullington said. “They provide box trailers, trucks and themselves. We couldn’t do it otherwise.”


“It’s a blessed event,” emphasized Todd Houck, Toy Fund president.

With donations down, organizers believed it might be the last Toy Fund distribution party.

“We don’t want it to be the last one,” Houck said. “Things were tight this year; and, if they continue to be this tight, we won’t be able to continue.”

Weather canceled the biggest single fundraiser for the project, the Pearl Bowles Memorial Golf Tournament. While the temperature was predicted to be above normal, thunderstorms were predicted.

“We hope to have it in the spring,” Bullington said. “We may be able to have two next year – one in the spring and another in October.”

Both men agree the Toy Fund needs younger people to organize the annual event.

“We’ll continue to help, but we need young people to get involved,” Bullington noted.


Donations can still be made at any bank in Wyoming County — any branch of First Peoples Bank, First Century Bank, or First Community Bank. If mailed, contributions should now be sent to Charlie Feller at P.O. Box 295; Mullens, WV 25882; checks should be made out to Wyoming County Toy Fund.


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