The president of a transportation broker in Springfield says his firm is in the business of bringing happiness to children for the long haul.
“We made our first donation to Toy for Joy last year. We bumped it up a little this year, and we were happy to do it. It represents part of who we are,’’ says Billy Kingston, whose firm, All States Transport Inc., made a $2,500 contribution to this year’s campaign.
“We made a commitment to ourselves last year and to the drive. We will continue to support Toy for Joy. We intend to do this for a long, long time,” adds Kingston.
The company’s gift leads today’s list of contributions.
Toy for Joy is a collaborative effort by the Salvation Army in association with The Republican, El Pueblo Latino and MassLive. This year’s goal is to raise $150,000 by Christmas Day to provide gifts to children in Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin counties.
In its 97th year, the campaign is joined by media partners at Reminders Publishing and The Westfield News. Its community partners include the Irene E. and George A. Davis Foundation, Pride Stores and Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi.
All States Transport, headquartered at 1067 East Columbus Ave., actually goes well beyond all the states. Kingston said it serves as a domestic freight broker and an international freight forwarder. Essentially, it arranges transportation services for companies over distances.
Kingston is especially proud that much of his staff has remained with the firm for most or all of its 35 years. He said he’s grateful to have the opportunity to support kids through Toy for Joy.
“We are able to do it and happy to do it,’’ he said.
Kingston had donated to Toy for Joy on a personal basis in the past, and the business always made room for charity. Last year, the company joined Toy for Joy with a $1,000 donation – and more than doubled it this year.
The firm (known colloquially as AST) facilitates transportation needs, mostly for companies with freight to move but also, on occasion, for individuals.
“About 99 percent of our business is with companies. Occasionally, an individual will ask us for help, and if we can help them, we do,’’ Kingston said.
The Toy for Joy drive is accepting contributions of any size. There is no minimum and no maximum, and there are several convenient ways to contribute.
The Davis foundation provided funds to help ensure books are included for every child who receives gifts. Contributions from individuals, companies or groups may be mailed with the coupon accompanying this story to The Republican, 1860 Main Street, Springfield, MA, 01101.
They may also be dropped off in person on weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., at The Republican’s offices. All 30 Pride stores in the region accept donations. Online donations may be made at give.salvationarmy.org/toyforjoy.
Here is a list of the recent contributions:
Best wishes for a successful drive from All States Transport Inc. $2,500
In memory of Michael S. $100
Merry Christmas to the teachers at Chapin Street School, Ludlow $50
In memory of Jenny Beth Orenstein $25
Eleanor and Bill, your generosity is an inspiration to all $100
In memory of Pepe, Meme, Grampa, Gramma, Dad and Mom $30
In memory of Rose, Hugo, Roger, Sedran, and Annie and Philip Mirarchi $50
Thank you St. Jude for prayers answered, JM $25
In memory of Paul Frodema $100
Merry Christmas and love to all from Paul and Debbie $25
Merry Christmas and happy new year to all your family and friends $25
In memory of Dave, Bridie, Kevin and Paul $100
In memory of G.G., who began all our family holiday traditions $100
In memory of Betty Harper from Carol and Albert $25
In memory of my husband, Joe $25
In loving memory of my husband, Ken “Okie” O’Connor, HMO’C $10
Loving memory of Bill and Theresa Chadwick $100
To celebrate God’s blessings of family and friends $100
In loving memory of George and Helen Liptak $100
In loving memory of my husband, Loren $100
In honor of my great-grandchildren $1,000
Total to date $24,211
Still needed $125,789