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Chambersburg Toy Mission to close after six decades

September 23, 2007|By JENNIFER FITCH

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Recalls affecting millions of toys from Barbie doll accessories to tiny cars have prompted the Chambersburg Toy Mission to cease operations after six decades of charitable giving.

"We just couldn't take the chance," H. Juanita Welker, a member of the mission's board of directors, said Saturday night.

She sent out the annual "toy request forms" in late summer like usual, then grew increasingly concerned about the recalls of Chinese-made toys. The board agreed Sept. 10 to close the mission permanently.

Now, contacts are being made to find another organization to serve the hundreds of children who received gifts from the mission.

"Hopefully we can align our children with someone else," Welker said. Initial talks have begun with another organization, but, like many toys, the request forms were recalled recently, she said.

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Opened following World War II, the mission used volunteers to repair, clean, sort and distribute donated toys.

"Many times we were the dumping grounds for people to get rid of their old toys," Welker said.

The mission leased a building on U.S. 30 and served 650 Franklin County, Pa., children in 2006, according to Welker.

Volunteers who have learned the news recently are split on whether the decision was the right one, Welker said. The mission never contended with recalls like this, she said.

"We're sorry to see it close, that's for sure. ... You're worried the children of Franklin County will not get any Christmas presents," Welker said.

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