Tony’s Metro Magic brings holiday cheer to kids in need

Metro Magic, Tony Metcalf, toy drive, toys for tots
Tony’s Metro Magic has brought holiday cheer to countless local children in need.
Credit: Miles Dixon/Metro

Loyal Metro readers will be familiar with our annual toy drive for underprivileged children, Metro Magic, which is helmed by our staff in New York, Philadelphia, and Boston. However, what you might not know is that the man who oversaw the project for four years, Tony Metcalf, Metro’s longest-running editor-in-chief, passed away this July from colon cancer. He was only 50-years-old.

The toy drive, which is done in conjunction with Toys for Tots and the U.S. Marines, was by far Metcalf’s favorite Metro initiative. As a former co-worker put it, Metro Magic and the joy it brought to children made him “the happiest I’ve ever seen him … even happier than he was at Yankee Stadium.” (Boston and Philly readers, please don’t hold that against him.)

For this year, Metro will continue on with the toy drive but in honor of our beloved and sorely missed colleague, we’re re-naming it Tony’s Metro Magic in honor of Tony.

So starting today, and running all through November and December both in print and online at www.metro.us, we will remind readers to donate — keep an eye out for the Metro Magic logo daily.

This season, we hope you will remember the thousands of children who will be spending the holidays in homeless shelters and safe houses, or who simply may not have that many gifts to open under the Christmas tree. One gift can make a big difference.

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 charity@metro.us letting us know what you gave and we’ll shout out a “thank-you” in the paper!


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