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Despite Store Closures, FedEx Driver Continues His Christmas Shopping
(PHOTO: Toys and clothes stacked in Dan Mastri’s home for Christmas delivery.)
Since Mastri attempts to provide for children who otherwise may go without much under their tree in December, he shops all year long.
Four years ago, Mastri, along with his friends Ryan Antonucci and Benedetto Demeo, started to collect toys for Christmas presents. Each year, they’ve done a little bit more.
Mastri works for FedEx Express out of Plum, and his territory is southern Clarion County. He noticed a lack of toy collection efforts as he traveled through the region. He also saw the need for such an effort and decided to start one of his own.
Two years ago, he collected about $7,000.00 worth of donations. Last year’s total came close to the $25,000.00 mark. Mastri believes this year, he’ll do even more.
His personal strategy is to spend about $100.00 per month on toys, coats, and children’s clothing that he finds on sale. Many of those who have helped him in the past have decided to do the same.
“This year, it’s really picked up!” Mastri explained. “I follow a few different websites and look for the best deal that I can find. At the end of the month, I’ll make an order.”
He has found bargains like coats and children’s clothing for 80% off. By purchasing each month, he ensures that he has coats, jackets, and clothes for every season.
As a result, Santa’s bag is getting pretty full. Mastri estimates he’s already collected about $12,000.00 worth of clothes and toys. He packs them into FedEx boxes and stacks them in his home, and his parents also help to store donations.
Mastri estimates that before long, he’ll have to expand to a storage unit as the Christmas spirit keeps donations rolling in even though Christmas is still months away.
“It’s been kind of random,” Mastri said. “In the middle of the week, someone will message me that they’ve picked up some things on sale and can I swing by and get them. When I get there, they’ll have four big shopping bags full of little kids shirts and pants that they got 90% off.”
Because kids tend to spend more time on electronics and less time playing with toys these days, Mastri says he hopes to focus more on clothes and coats this year.
He works with several churches, school guidance counselors, and Clarion Children and Youth Service to distribute the items to those in need.
Among his deliveries last year were:
– Twenty-five new coats went to the Redbank Valley School District for distribution;
– Toys and coats went to the Presbyterian Church in New Bethlehem;
– Toys went to the Moose Club;
– Toys and coats went to the Baker Street Church of God in Rimersburg;
– Toys and coats went to children on the Angel Tree at the Rimersburg Library;
– Coats went to the Hope Rising Church in Clarion;
– Forty coats and two SUVs full of toys and clothes went to Children and Youth Services in Clarion; and
– Coats went to the New Bethlehem Police Department.
Mastri knows that he will collect most of this year’s items in December but welcomes contributions throughout the year.
Feel free to message him on Facebook if you have a question or have something you would like to donate.
“I’m kind of amazed at all the stuff we have already,” Mastri said. “I guess each year you get a little bit better at this because you learn from experience.”
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