It’s been more than 88 years since the stock market crashed on Black Friday in 1929. Long ago enough that the words today have a totally different connotation.
The consequences of Black Friday 1929 lingered for nearly a decade, forcing many families to eke out a living the best they could.
Today’s Black Friday conjures images of crowded department stores, shiny toys and beeping electronics as people use it to kick off their holiday shopping.
But for many still today, Black Friday can be as sad and dreary as it was those many years ago.
That’s where Mac’s Toy Fund comes in. The fund was created in 1930 in those dark early days of the Great Depression. Beckley Post-Herald Editor Ted “Mac” McDowell just could not stand the thought that any Raleigh County child might not receive a toy for Christmas because the family had hit upon hard times.
Using his newspaper column to drum up support for the fund, he raised about $100 that year. He wrote, “some of my other friends helped out in the shopping end, so we had enough toys … The toys didn’t amount to much, a dime or a quarter, … but the happiness those kids got out of being remembered on Christmas was wonderful to behold, and was well worth what it cost.”
And to the people who direct Mac’s Toy Fund, Mac’s words remain true 87 years later.
Mac’s is a simple concept and its organization is handled by a small, all-volunteer group of about a dozen people. It has no operating costs other than paying for the new toys, coats and fruit that are given away at the distribution. Every penny collected benefits the kids.
Children served by Mac’s Toy Fund come to it through the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources. Any family that receives assistance for its children will receive an invitation to the party. A record number of invitations is expected to be sent out again this year, topping last year’s record of 7,000.
That’s why Mac’s needs help from you. Not just your dollars, but also used toys your children don’t play with anymore. They can help Mac’s provide a happier holiday for these kids.
Donations are being accepted for gently used toys, dolls and games at BJW Printing on Robert C. Byrd Drive in Beckley (across from Little Caesar’s). Used bicycles can be dropped off at Beckley Fire Station No. 3 on Eisenhower Drive. All will be cleaned and repaired as necessary before they find new owners at the toy party.
But monetary donations are needed as well. The $100 that Mac raised in his first drive wouldn’t take him very far today. Donations have begun to trickle in.
The most recent contributions are from:
l Dewey and Lucy Bone of Beckley, $50
l Outreach Sunday School Class of Memorial Baptist Church, Beckley, $100
l Ellen and James Anderson of Ghent, in honor of six great-grandchildren, Noell, Sophie, Samantha, Jillian, Avery and Elliot, $60
l P.H. and Sharon Calfee of Beckley, $150
Today’s total: $360
Total to date: $771.50
You can help Mac’s complete its mission for the 87th time by sending monetary donations to:
Mac’s Toy Fund
PO Box 2398
Beckley, WV 25802
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Mac’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/MacsToyFund/