Gazette’s Sidney F. Smith Toy Fund has strong year of giving

  • Sidney F. Smith, ca. 1962. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 1/10/2022 12:09:34 PM
Modified: 1/10/2022 12:08:42 PM

NORTHAMPTON – The Gazette’s Sidney F. Smith Toy Fund raised $66,427 this holiday season helping some 900 families with children during the campaign’s 89th year.

The money donated was less than than record-breaking $82,376 raised in 2020, but still a successful fundraising cycle nevertheless, according to organizers.

“It’s still a great outpouring of the community to support the Toy Fund,” said Pat Maleno, the Gazette’s business office manager.

The toy fund raised $55,285 in 2019 and $62,201 in 2018 by comparison.

Gazette Publisher Shawn Palmer described this year’s campaign as “a great result” and cited the importance of how the fund serves both local families and directs dollars to local businesses.

“A giant thank you to the community,” he said.

Maleno, who has managed the fund since 2009, has said that 2020 may have been the biggest year for the Toy Fund in its history.

Named after a former business manager at the Gazette, the Toy Fund began in 1933 to help families in need during the Depression. Today, the fund distributes vouchers worth $40 to families for each child from age 1 to 14. Eligible families must live in any Hampshire County community except Ware, or in the southern Franklin County towns of Deerfield, Sunderland, Whately, Shutesbury and Leverett, and in Holyoke in Hampden County.

Donations to the Toy Fund can be made at any time of year, not just the holiday season, and may be mailed to the Daily Hampshire Gazette, P.O. Box 299, Northampton, MA, 01061, or made through Gazettenet at

CSO-The Bridge Family Resource Center at 101 University Drive in Amherst verifies families’ eligibility and the Gazette covers costs associated with the drive, freeing all donations to fund the vouchers.

The following stores accepted 2021 vouchers this year: A2Z Science and Learning Store, 57 King St., Northampton; Blue Marble/Little Blue, 150 Main St., Level 1, Northampton; High Five Books, 141 N. Main St., Florence; The Toy Box, 201 N. Pleasant St., Amherst; Once Upon A Child,1458 Riverdale St., West Springfield; Plato’s Closet, 1472 Riverdale St., West Springfield; Sam’s Outdoor Outfitters, 227 Russell St., Hadley; Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College St., Village Commons, South Hadley; The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, 125 W. Bay Road, Amherst; World Eye Bookshop, 134 Main St., Greenfield; Holyoke Sporting Goods Co., 1584 Dwight St. No. 1, Holyoke.

Bera Dunau can be reached at


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