FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Mary Sappelli organized her first toy drive seven years ago at Archie Moore’s in Fairfield. As she prepares to host another holiday party Thursday, Dec. 12, Sappelli says she is continually surprised by the community's generosity.
“Everybody in town is kind at Christmas time,’’ said Sappelli, who has organized the drive at Archie Moore’s for seven years and has worked there for 20. “I’m surprised every single year.”
Sappelli begins her toy drive in November. Thursday’s toy donation party includes an appearance by What Up Funk Band, half-price wings and a raffle. Sappelli distributes toys to a homeless shelter in Stamford and a church in Bridgeport. She also brings stuffed animals to the cancer center at Yale-New Haven Hospital.
“Since I’ve been at Archie Moore’s, I’ve met so many people,’’ Sappelli said. “I thought I’d be able to persuade them to give me toys for the drive. I have a lot of respect for what the people do at the homeless shelter and at the church.”
Sappell said she gets flooded with toys, sometimes needing several trucks to distribute them. After Thursday’s collection, she will make the donations to her selected charities.
“I always get nervous,’’ she said. “They start asking me, ‘Can I count on you this year?’ I think my gosh, what if I can’t deliver? But every year it gets better. Everybody wants to help. They just don’t know where to do it. This gives them a place to do it.”
People are invited to visit Archie Moore’s beginning at 5 p.m. Thursday to donate their unwrapped toys. The band, which includes Sappelli’s husband, Jamie, cranks up around 8. The party also coincides with the Town of Fairfield's first annual Holiday Shop and Stroll.
Her church and shelter workers distribute the toys at Christmas. “I don’t see the kids get the toys,’’ she said. “But it’s a good feeling. I know how much they appreciate it.”