Starting a little more than a week ago, the toys started arriving in the paint-shop area of the General Motors Lordstown Complex.
Each year, the workers in the paint-shop area donate to the Salvation Army of Northeast Ohio, and every year the workers’ donations get a little bigger, said Scott Negley, area manager for the paint shop.
This year’s donation included 18 bicycles, sporting equipment and a sizable stack of other toys. The donation was valued at more than $5,000. All the items were loaded into a truck Tuesday, and parents will be able to pick out toys for their children from among the items at an event later this month in Austintown.
“It’s great to be able to give something to children whose families might not be as fortunate as our own,” Negley said.
When this effort first started 11 years ago, the paint shop was under construction, and this event took place under a couple of tents, said Tom Mock, communications manager for the GM Lordstown Complex and Parma Metal Center. The effort has come a long way.
“This effort wouldn’t work without the employees. They do most of the work,” Negley said.
Tina Caperelli, planner for the paint shop, was working to finish buying gifts Tuesday morning.
“I was out at 5:30 a.m. buying two bike helmets,” she said. “We wanted to make sure each bicycle had a helmet.
Each year, Caperelli said, she sponsors two children and also helps make suggestions to the plant workers about toys they can donate.
There is a lot of generosity among the workers in this department, she said.
It takes a team of people to put together an effort such as this, said Glenn Johnson, president of United Auto Workers Local 1112.
GM is one of the largest donors to the Salvation Army in the Mahoning Valley, said Valerie Kahn, a major with the Salvation Army.
The efforts of the GM employees will ensure that a lot of area children have toys this Christmas, said Elijah Kahn, Valerie Kahn’s husband who also is a major with the SA.
“Although the employees at GM sponsored 100 children, their donations will help more than 100 kids,” Valerie Kahn said.