CCSU's Love Wins Community Drive already raised $10K; toy drop-off set up at Amato's Toy and Hobby

Published on Saturday, 21 November 2020 18:22


NEW BRITAIN -- Thanks to a creative workaround and some new ideas, the Central Connecticut State University Love Wins Community Drive has already raised about $10,000 despite only officially kicking off on Saturday.

“Obviously we were hoping to be in person,” said Dr. John Tully, chair of the History Department.

But given the covid-19 pandemic, Tully continued, “we’re glad we can do it virtually.”

Those looking to donate have a few different options. By visiting, donations can be made by clicking the “shop” box and choosing toys, winter clothing, non-perishable food items or other needs from one of the wish lists; cash donations can be made by choosing the “donate” box; and registering for the virtual Blue Devil Dash 5K can be done by clicking the “run” option.

Donations will go to the New Britain Youth & Family Services and Maria’s Place -- CCSU’s campus pantry. Anything raised in the 5K will go toward providing New Britain residents scholarship opportunities.

CCSU also partnered with Amato’s Toy and Hobby, where owner Steve Amato said they have already fielded a few phone calls from those looking to donate toys. Anyone looking to help can call the store at 860-229-9069 to make a payment of any amount they wish over the phone, which will be used for toy donations. They can also drop by the store and pick out merchandise themselves and leave it in the dropbox Amato has set up.

Amato, who each year helps out with multiple toy drives, said participating in CCSU’s Love Wins drive was a no brainer.

“Any of these are easy charities to get behind because they get toys to kids who are in a tough spot,” said Amato, who will be making his own personal donations to the causes he supports.

“This one,” he continued, referring to the CCSU drive, “is new for us.”

“This year people are really going to be hurting because of what’s going on,” Amato said. “The nice thing about this is you don’t have to spend a lot of money. Five dollars can get a kid a toy. You can also spend $50 or $100, but you don’t have to.”

“You can put a smile on a kid’s face with $5.”

“Amato’s stepped up to the plate as our local partner,” said Tully.

Tully, whose idea it was to do a virtual 5K, said the hope is to, this time next year, be able to hold an in-person 5K and make it an annual event.

“We’re very excited about it,” Tully said, adding that the goal is to raise $5,000.

“The community has been tremendously supportive,” Tully said.

Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or

Posted in New Britain Herald, New Britain on Saturday, 21 November 2020 18:22. Updated: Saturday, 21 November 2020 18:25.