‘Cram The Van’ collects toys, games as holiday gifts for children this season


SOUTH GLASTONBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — A special toy drive, dubbed “Cram The Van,” took place in South Glastonbury Saturday afternoon, raising money for the Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters program.

The toy drive will benefit boys and girls ages six through eighteen. Brian Kelly, Director of Marketing with BBBS, told WTNH that the event was “very successful,” noting that the drive helped collect a ton of toys, games, and sports equipment for holiday gifts.

One adult mentor, longtime West Hartford resident Vinny DiNatale, has been with BBBS for the past 11 years. DiNatale even was presented an Outstanding Mentor award at a special reception hosted by Senator Murphy in Middletown during National Mentoring Month.

DiNatale noted in a statement that he’s seen firsthand the need experienced by many families participating in the organization’s program. This is especially true during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as during the holidays.

“With Cram The Van, I do what I can to gather toys that we give to as many of the kids as possible,” DiNatale said. “In November and December I spend a lot of time telling people about it before the actual date. On the Saturday we decide to do it, I park the van usually a couple of vans, at the Richard’s Irving gas station in South Glastonbury. Then, people come by and drop off their toy donations.”

For more information about BBBS, including how to volunteer or donate, visit nbbbs.org.

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