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Crafty woman uses proceeds to buy toys for kids

December 24, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

Editor's note: This is the last installment of a series over the 12 days before Christmas that recognized some of the people who make the holidays better for others.

HAGERSTOWN - Hagerstown's Nellie Hull is one of many in the Tri-State area who makes crafts throughout the year.

But the 81-year-old Potomac Towers resident takes it a step further. She has been using money raised by the sale of her homemade crafts to buy toys for needy children for more than four decades.

Hull, who has lived in Hagerstown all her life, said she has been making crafts and other items such as dolls and T-shirts for just more than 40 years. She said the money she takes in every year through her handiwork - through straight sales or "chance" raffles - is used to purchase toys for programs such as Toys For Tots.

"I sell them wherever I can get the most money out of it," Hull said.


Hull said she began donating the money each year, in large part because of her experiences growing up during the Great Depression.

"We were poor then. Back in 1929, people didn't have anything," Hull recalled. "So, I just relate to those children. I know what it's like not to have anything."

This year alone, Hull donated about $500 worth of toys, said Rose Greenawalt, a Long & Foster Realtors employee who helps coordinate the company's Toys For Tots collection effort. Greenawalt said she only recently discovered that Hull has been the biggest individual contributor to the company for about 10 years.

"She makes stuff during the year and sells it and uses it to buy stuff to make toys," Greenawalt said. "I mean, that's just fantastic. She does it for kids she doesn't even know."

Greenawalt said Hull's annual contribution greatly helps the company's efforts as well as that of the entire local Toys For Tots campaign.

"I don't know that you can have too many toys for the Toys for Tots Program," she said.

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