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Local FedEx Driver Gives Santa A Run for His Money With Annual Toy Drive
CLARION CO., Pa. (EYT) – You will have to excuse Dan Mastri if he feels a little bit like Santa … he just delivered toys – lots of toys – and coats to seven different organizations to be distributed to children who may not have otherwise had much under the tree this year.
(Photos provided by Dan Mastri from his Facebook page.)
In all, Mastri’s efforts collected nearly $25,000.00 worth of items.
In its third year, the effort has more than tripled, just like the heart of our favorite Christmas villain, the Grinch! Even that curmudgeon would have been hard-pressed to resist Mastri’s enthusiasm.
Mastri works for FedEx Express out of Plum, but his territory is Southern Clarion County. He noticed a lack of toy collection efforts as he traveled through the region and decided to start one of his own.
The Baker Street Church of God is on his route. Three years ago he went out with some of his friends to buy items for the church’s toy drive. He says they each spent a few hundred dollars.
“It just seemed like it meant a lot to the people,” Mastri told exploreClarion.com.
“I work out here every day. I love the area, I love the people and I wanted to do something to give back.”
He decided during his weekly Walmart shopping trips, he would pick up a toy and build a stockpile for the coming year. Things really exploded when he took to social media.
He gave friends his parent’s address as a collection point and all of a sudden boxes started arriving.
“Last year we raised about $7,000.00,” Mastri said. “This year we were over $24,000.00.”
Toys aren’t all Mastri collected. This year he added coats to the list. Whenever he saw a good sale on coats, he would buy a few with money friends donated to the cause.
“We had more than 200 coats,” he said. “Because we had so many we were able to help seven different organizations.”
– 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 when 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; and
– Forty coats and two SUVs full of toys and clothes went to Children and Youth Services in Clarion.
Coats will also be donated to the New Bethlehem police department.
Mastri dropped off his goods to the Baker Street Church of God on the day parents came in to get items for their children. He talked about one couple who were able to get a bike. He says their reaction was more in line with winning the lottery.
“You just never know how much something we tend to take for granted will mean to someone,” he said.
He remembered talking for the first time to the person who runs the children’s program at the Hope Rising Church in Clarion.
“She told me about children who come into the program,” he said. “It might be freezing out and they have a lightweight coat on, or no coat, or their coat doesn’t fit, or it’s not in good shape.”
Mastri’s voice was full of enthusiasm and happiness as he talked about how successful this year’s effort was. He’s quick to give the credit to friends and family and even strangers who saw posts on social media and sent toys or coats. He’s already thinking about next year.
“I got packages from North Carolina, California, and Arizona,” he said. “It’s pretty cool.”
You can find Dan Mastri on Facebook.
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