(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 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."