Kids & Family

Test Toys Become Holiday Joy For Hundreds Of Kids

Instead of throwing them away, stuffed animals go into holiday wish list gift bags for needy children.


Think back to when you were a child. Was there a special stuffed toy that made you happy, maybe gave you comfort when you were feeling low? Hundreds of children in Pennsylvania whose families might not be able to afford toys this holiday season will get a cuddly stuffed animal thanks to the state inspectors whose job it is to test toys to make sure they're safe.

Workers test toys for safety, then store them for distribution to needy children at Christmas.

The Department of Labor & Industry donated 900 stuffed toys that passed safety inspections to the commonwealth's 30th annual Holiday Wish program gift drive. Under state law, inspectors have to check all new stuffed toy samples for things like choking hazards and general safety. Toys that pass inspection get a registration number, which is on every stuffed toy sold in the state. L&I Secretary Jerry Oleksiak made the announcement that the samples deemed safe will go to the Wish List toy collection:

(Commonwealth Media Services)

Over the past four years, the department has donated nearly 2500 samples. "The Holiday Wish program gives us a unique opportunity to provide children with the toys, giving the toys a good home and bringing joy to kids across Pennsylvania this holiday season," said Secretary Oleksiak

"Staff consider ourselves to be part of Santa's workshop!" -- SecretaryJerry Oleksiak

The Holiday Wish program was started in 1989 by a small group of employees from the state's Department of Health and Human Services. Over the years, it has grown to include hundreds of employees in numerous departments, providing wish-list gifts, including the stuffed "test" toys, to needy families and older adults each year. They expect to serve 1100+ people this year.

National Guard members deliver Holiday Wish gifts.Master Sgt. Culeen Shaffer

State workers deserve a huge pat on the back for 30 years of collecting toys and other gifts for families in need in their communities. Why not look for an organization in your neighborhood that needs help filling wish lists this holiday season, and join them to #StartSomethingGood.

How can you start something good?
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