Press Release

January 3, 2003

No. 03-01

(301) 585-4000
Mokie Porter



(Washington, D.C.) – The Associates of Vietnam Veterans of America (AVVA), Blue-Gray Chapter 628 in Princeton, West Virginia, received more that $135,000 worth of merchandise from NBC’s Today Show’s Holiday Gift Drive. AVVA Project Friendship is a cooperative effort of AVVA and Vietnam Veterans of America members.

"We are thrilled to be working with NBC again," said AVVA President Nancy Switzer. "Project Friendship is an ongoing program that provides assistance to children and greatly helps our committee."

Many corporate sponsors contributed to the Holiday Gift Drive. Jakks Pacific, Inc., gave many, many toys of many types. The Learning Curve donated wooden toys, and Ty, Inc., sent thousands of Beanie Babies. The World Book Encyclopedia contributed eight full sets of encyclopedias. Other publishers contributing children’s books were Cheerio Books, Golden Press Books, HarperCollins, DK Publishing, World Book, and Aladdin Books. Lands’ End sent huge quantities of clothes. Other corporate sponsors include Colgate-Palmolive, Proctor & Gamble, Suave, Boyds Bears, Zales, RBI Company, and Home Depot (which contributed two computers).

"This project will benefit children in Mercer, McDowell, Raleigh, Wyoming, Summers, and Monroe counties in West Virginia," said AVVA Region 3 Director Elaine Simmons. "We are so pleased to be able to provide these gifts to children who have been referred to us by local agencies."

"Local foster care programs, child care programs, safe shelters, and family therapy programs refer these children to us," added Project Chair Rebecca Beeman Shumaker, MSW, LCSW. "We also get referrals of veterans’ children, single-parent homes, and other community children," said Phyllis Martin, Vice-Chair and AVVA Chapter 628 leader.

"Many of the books and educational resources," Switzer said, "will be donated to schools and libraries in southern West Virginia. This year we will be able to reach as many as three thousand children."


Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) is the nation's only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated to the needs of Vietnam-era veterans and their families.  VVA's founding principle is “Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another.”

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