Sch­winky Toy Drive de­liv­ers 2,000 toys to chil­dren

Record Observer - - News - By AN­GELA PRICE bay­times@kibay­times.com

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.

PHOTO COURTESY CHRIS SCH­WINK

The Sch­winky Toy Drive col­lected 2,000 toys for chil­dren at the Kennedy Kreiger In­sti­tute and the PACT Unit for Christ­mas 2016.

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