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Veterans, first responders, furry friends to benefit from Toyota donations

A total of ten area nonprofits received a donation of $2,500.
Haley O'Brien
A total of ten area nonprofits received a donation of $2,500.

Monroe County nonprofits have a little extra cash to amplify their community efforts this holiday season thanks to donations from Toyota of Stroudsburg.

The Olsen Christmas Wish, created in honor of Stroud Area Regional Police Officer Jeff Olsen who died by suicide in 2006, identifies families who need help and collects their Christmas lists.

“We find children that we come in contact with through Children and Youth, through the school system or basically on patrol that are having a really tough year,” said Officer Chris Shelly. “Then we get their Christmas list and we provide them with that Christmas list.”

He said the organization fulfilled wishes for roughly 200 kids last year.

Allen Blad is General Manager and Co-Owner of Toyota of Scranton and Stroudsburg.

“We purchased this store in June and we’re looking forward to spreading the same culture that we have in the Scranton community here in Stroudsburg.”

Representatives from ten receiving nonprofits visited Toyota of Stroudsburg to accept their check for $2,500.

“We used to just give donations out and cut the check,” said Patrick Rogers, CFO of Toyota of Stroudsburg and Scranton. “We found out we’re really not connecting that way… So now we bring the people in so we can talk to them, hear their stories, maybe get ideas for other people we can reach out to and help.”

Christopher Yarnell is the president of Battle Borne, a foundation that connects veterans with resources of all kinds in Monroe, Carbon, Lehigh, Northampton, and Pike Counties. He says this money will help to fund a veterans home they plan to build.

The funds given to Furry Friends Foodbank will be put to use right away, says Felicia Katz, president and founder.

“We put a plea out a couple weeks ago because we were down to only like our last two weeks of food supply,” she said. “And we take care of probably between 130 and 150 people a month.”

Toyota of Stroudsburg and Toyota of Scranton provide financial support to nonprofits throughout the year. This round of donations totaled $25,000.

Haley O'Brien is a reporter for the WVIA News team.

You can email Haley at haleyobrien@wvia.org