Schwinky Toy Drive delivers 2,000 toys to children
STEVENSVILLE — The 6th annual Schwinky Toy Drive collected and distributed more than 2,000 toys to children at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore City and its affiliated PACT Unit in the Woodlawn section of Baltimore County in December.
Salisbury Pewter again donated the truck to deliver the toys, and a number of volunteers took off work to help deliver y the toys, said Chris Schwink of Stevensville, whose family started the toy drive in memory of his brother Michael.
Michael Schwink died in 2009 at the age of 23 after battling melanoma for a year and a half. His family, with the help of friends and area businesses, organized the toy drive in his memory because he was so fond of children and played Santa Claus at the United Communities Volunteer Fire Department where he was a member, his mother Pat said previously.
Chris Schwink and his mom and dad, Pat and Glenn, were accompanied Dec. 16, the day of delivery, by volunteers Merrit, John, Claire and Quinten Polcak, Cherie Plews and her granddaughter Kelsey, B.J. Duty and his son Heath, Sara and Jenna Dawes, Garrett German, Rudy Lukacovic, Kari Oulahyane and Katelyn Campbell. They helped load the toys on the truck, unload them and distribute them to the children, Schwink said.
The hospital wouldn’t allow Schwink to dress up as Santa to hand out the toys this year, but they still had a special guest — in costume — to assist. The man known as “Batman in Baltimore” came as the caped crusader to pass out gifts, Schwink said.
The drive’s success was thanks to the help of many local businesses and organizations, Schwink said. United Communities VFD collected toys during its breakfast with Santa and its Santa runs.
Rams Head Shore House, Pour House Pub, Hardee’s and Unique Creations, all in Stevensville; St. Christopher’s Church in Chester; Masonic Lodge 180, Dollar General, Good Guys, the Queen Anne’s County State’s Attorney’s Office and the Queen Anne’s County Sheriff’s Office, all in Centreville, all hosted collection boxes, he said. Pour House Pub also named the Schwinky Toy Drive its designated charity for SantaCon Kent Island.
The Kent Island Cruisers classic car club made a financial donation to the drive, as did Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 108, Schwink said.
The 2017 drive will kick off around the end of August, coinciding with Michael’s birthday, he said. Collection boxes usually go out in mid November.
“Michael’s love for all children and his joy for Christmas is a constant inspiration for our family to continue in remembering Michael,” the family states in posters that accompany the boxes. “We chose to honor his memory with a toy drive for special needs children and their families.”
Volunteers pick up the toys donated in early December. Many of the collection sites also participate with Toys for Tots, and that way the two drives don’t overlap, Schwink said. It also allows them time to distribute the toys before Christmas.
In 2011, the drive’s first year, toys collected were donated to the Nemours/Alfred I. Du Pont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Del. Since 2012, the toys have gone to Kennedy Krieger, which is internationally known for treating children and adolescents with disorders and injuries of the brain and spinal cord, and the PACT Unit, which provides child care for families of children with special needs.
For the second time in recent months, the state flag flies upside down outside the District Court in Queen Anne’s County. Resident Don Galloway Jr brought it to public attention the first time and noticed the flag flying incorrectly again on Feb. 4.
The Schwinky Toy Drive collected 2,000 toys for children at the Kennedy Kreiger Institute and the PACT Unit for Christmas 2016.