December 9, 2018
Springfield - Raffle tickets are only $1 but the prize is priceless.
"I've decided that the person with the winning raffle ticket can shave my head," said Lincoln Smith, the music director at Veritas Preparatory Charter School, who will announce the winner during the school's winter concert Dec. 20.
Proceeds of the raffle will go to Toy for Joy, a collaborative effort by the Salvation Army, The Republican and MassLive that provides toys and books to children in needy families in Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin counties. Now in its 96th year, the campaign's goal is to raise $150,000 by Christmas Eve.
So far, the campaign has raised $17,426, leaving $132,574 needed in the coming two weeks. The Veritas students will join a host of donors who contribute gifts large and small to help make Christmas bright for thousands of children across the region.
Today's list of generous donors include two area businesses, McNeill Heating and Air Conditioning Co., of West Springfield, and the Connecticut Valley Artesian Well Co., of East Longmeadow, which have been regular donors to Toy for Joy for many years.
"We are grateful for each and every donor, large and small," said Cynthia G. Simison, assistant to the publisher and managing editor of The Republican. "School groups help make the campaign very special because they are young people who are helping other young people who may not be as fortunate as they are."
"Community service has always been very important to me and that is something I wanted to share with my students as well," Smith said. "There are a lot of wonderful national organizations, but I wanted something that would benefit families right here in Springfield and I heard so many good things about Toy for Joy."
Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased by anyone, but if it's not a student, the ticket must be in the name of a student.
"I want students and teachers to participate, but it will be more fun if a student wins the prize," he said.
Toy for Joy is also partnering this year with the Reading Success by 4th Grade initiative of the Irene E. and George A. Davis Foundation for a second year to help ensure each child receives a new book.
For the third year in a row, Pride Stores is partnering with Toy for Joy. Pride locations in Western Massachusetts and northern Connecticut will rally its customers in November and December to help contribute to Toy for Joy. Customers can go into any Pride in the area and purchase a $1, $5 or $10 donation card for Toy for Joy.
To make a contribution to the Toy for Joy fund, write: Toy for Joy, 1860 Main St., Springfield, MA 01101. Contributions may also be dropped off with the coupon which accompanies this story to The Republican, 1860 Main St., Springfield, weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. through noon on Dec. 21. You can also donate online here.