Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) donated nearly 600 stuffed toys that passed safety inspections to the 32nd annual Holiday Wish program, Dauphin County Systems of Care and New Hope Ministries gift drives this holiday season.
Under state law, L&I must inspect all new stuffed toy samples for contents, choking hazards, and general safety. Toys that pass inspection get a registration number, which is on every stuffed toy sold in the state. Because of this process, the department accumulates hundreds of toy samples each year. In the past five years, L&I has donated nearly 3,200 toys to holiday gift drives.
“With all the stuffed toys that come to our Harrisburg office for inspection, L&I staff consider ourselves to be part of Santa’s workshop,” said L&I Secretary Jennifer Berrier. “Partnering with the Holiday Wish program, Dauphin County Systems of Care and New Hope Ministries gives us a unique opportunity to provide children with the toys that pass inspection, giving the toys a good home and bringing joy to kids across Pennsylvania this holiday season.”
The Holiday Wish program was started in 1989 by a small group of employees from the Department of Human Services. Over the years, it has grown to include hundreds of employees in numerous departments.
The families and older adults sponsored for the event were identified through case workers at county assistance offices, a senior citizen complex serving older adults in need, and a community action agency. They list a few gifts they would like to receive, and state employees then choose to sponsor a family or individual. The program will reach nearly 200 Pennsylvania children this holiday season.
Dauphin County Systems of Care is a collective array of organizations and individuals who come together to connect people with services, supports and resources they need to educate, inform and enhance their lives. Dauphin County Systems of Care is collecting donations of food, essential household items, and toys/gifts for children through age 12. They will distribute these items via a Holiday Celebration Dump in a Trunk Parade. The program will provide a gift for nearly 1,300 children and youth this holiday season.
New Hope Ministries is a community-based, Christian social service agency that assists low-income families and individuals through crisis assistance centers in Dillsburg, Dover, Enola, Hanover, Littlestown, Mechanicsburg, New Oxford, and the West Shore. In a typical year, New Hope provides help with food, housing, utility, and transportation needs to 22,000 individuals from 9,300 different families. New Hope also provides youth programs for children to help prepare them for success in school and life.
L&I administers and enforces safety standards related to a variety of products including, but not limited to boilers, building construction (Uniform Construction Code), elevators, flammable and combustible liquids, and bedding and upholstery, in addition to stuffed toys.