Wife keeps husband’s Toy Fund wish alive

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

Staff Writer
Published: 12/16/2021 6:59:40 AM
Modified: 12/16/2021 6:59:06 AM

NORTHAMPTON — Since 1985, Ralph Hough Jr. and his wife, Sandra Hough, have donated to the Sidney F. Smith Toy Fund, continuing to do so even after relocating to Florida in the 1990s. Now, following Ralph’s death in June, Sandra is donating in the memory of her husband as well and plans to continue to do so going forward.

“I’m honoring his wishes,” Sandra said.

Sandra, 79, grew up in Hatfield, while Ralph was born in Hadley but grew up in Northampton. The pair met at a dance in Hadley and were married for 55 years before Ralph’s death at the age of 83.

Ralph worked as a carpenter before his retirement, while Sandra worked for the United States Department of Veterans Affairs before retiring in the early 1990s. They lived in Hatfield following their marriage before moving up to Vermont and finally down to Florida, where Sandra lives in a retirement community in Leesburg.

In remembering her husband, Sandra said that people enjoyed being around him and that he made sure to talk to everyone.

“He just enjoyed people,” she said.

Sandra said that they began donating to the Toy Fund in 1985, the year that her husband’s father died. In the years since they would donate in the memories of other family members as well.

“He was the one who kept reminding me every year,” Sandra said.

She said that all of her family members are still in the Pioneer Valley and that she will continue to donate yearly to the Toy Fund in the name of her husband and other deceased family members.

“That was his wish,” she said.

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.

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 are participating 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.


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