Dover Colonial Rotary Club

Local businessman addresses Rotary Club on behalf of Toys-for-Tots

November 21, 2020

DOVER: Mark Pugh, owner of Pugh’s Automotive Service, recently addressed the Dover Colonial Rotary Club regarding one of his favorite charitable organizations, Toys-for-Tots.

Mr. Pugh, himself a member of the Colonial Rotary Club, began his presentation by providing the group with a brief history of the organization founded in the Los Angeles Area in 1947 by Marine Corps Reserve Major Bill Hendricks. His wife Diane had some dolls that she wanted to donate to less fortunate children at Christmas time and asked her husband to find an agency that could help. Not finding one, Diane then instructed him to start one. That first year some 5,000 toys were collected.

Bill Hendricks, whose civilian job was Director of Public Relations for Warner Brothers Studios, obtained the support of Walt Disney and other celebrities. This allowed the foundation to become a national organization the following year. Other chapters sprung up throughout the country. Mr. Dennis Sipple heads the Dover Chapter. Today the foundation collects over 18 million toys, which are then distributed to some 7 million underprivileged children. As Mr. Pugh stated, “We want to see all children have the opportunity to come downstairs and see presents waiting for them beneath the tree at Christmas time.”

Storing these numerous donations can be a problem for local organizations. Such was the case for the Dover Chapter, with available storage facilities continually changing over the years. This past September, representatives of Toys-for-Toys approached the Kent County Levy Court seeking assistance. The commissioners agreed to lease the vacant 10,000 square foot county-owned building located at 26 Starlifter Road in Dover for $1 for this year.

Anyone wishing to make a donation is asked to come to Pugh’s Automotive Service at 728 Leipsic Road, Dover (Opposite Home Depot). When you arrive, please call 302-678-2408. Someone will come out to accept your donation as well as take a photo. All toys need to be new and unwrapped.