Tony Metcalf, late Metro editor-in-chief, with his daughter Freya. Credit: Leslie Cain-Metcalf
Straight from the North Pole, Santa Claus delivered the first batch of letters that he received from kids living in city shelters as part of Tony’s Metro Magic holiday toy drive.
The annual toy drive is done in conjunction with Toys for Tots and the U.S. Marines and was overseen by our beloved editor-in-chief Tony Metcalf. He passed away in June from colon cancer at age 50. Metro Magic was an initiative that he held dear to his heart and this year we’ve renamed the event in his honor.
"Tony loved kids. He saw them all as innocents. He believed all children, no matter what the circumstances, deserved a childhood," his widow, Leslie Cain-Metcalf, said of her husband. "He loved Christmas too. As the shops fill here with decorations and trees, I wonder how I will get through my first Christmas without him. And more importantly, how I will ever fill his shoes and love of Christmas for our kids. For him to be able to carry on doing so through Metro would have been a massive honor for him."
The letters that Santa dropped off to the Metro office include a wide variety of toys and gifts for kids who might not otherwise have a holiday.
“Dear Santa, I will take anything you can give me. I would like a big Elmo so I won’t be alone in the shelter,” one of the children wrote.
Besides the Big Hugs Elmo, LEGOS were something that a lot of children asked for. “I would like LEGOS, please. Lots of them. Thank you, Tom”
Another child decide to cut out the middleman and wrote straight to Mrs. Claus. “I know Santa is busy so can I have a pretty doll for Christmas. I need one just for me. Thank you, Milly.”
Several of the kids asked for gifts for their mothers instead of themselves. “Santa, I want my mom to be healthy this year. I am okay,” Wanda, 10, wrote.
Running through the rest of November and December both in print and online at www.metro.us, we will be reminding readers to donate — keep an eye out for the Metro Magic logo daily.
What is Toys for Tots?
Toys for Tots started in 1947, when a group of U.S. Marine reservists got together and cleaned up small toys and gave them away to needy families. Now it’s one of the biggest nonprofits in the nation. Toys for Tots works by giving away the toys they collect to other nonprofits. For example, every year one-third of the toys they collect goes to the NYPD, which distributes them. Last year they got 600 requests from charities to receive toys and have drop-off boxes set up throughout the city.
What to give?
Metro is collecting new, unwrapped gifts, not clothes. Things like action figures, dolls, board games, and sports toys like a football are always good. And don’t forget about older children, ages 11 and up. An older child would love to receive an MP3 player, a make-up kit or a poster from their favorite “Twilight” movie this year. And you don’t have to give much. Spending $10 or $20 on a toy or two for a needy child can make a big difference.
How to take part
One click will take you to a “Wish List” we have set up via a secure link on Toys "R" Us.com.
For New York, here. For Philadelphia, click here. For Boston, here.
Once there, you can see all the toys we’ve already requested for kids and more are being added daily. Simply select the toys you want and purchase them. That’s it!
Selecting only the toys on our Wish List ensures that all the gifts will be shipped to our offices and then picked up by the Marines.
If you donate, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org letting us know what you gave and we’ll shout out a “thank-you” in the paper!