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12/17/2014 | 1 MINUTE READ

SPE’s Detroit Section Plays Santa Molding and Donating Toys

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The holidays are a time for tradition, and SPE’s Detroit Section kept up a great one on Tuesday when trucks delivered thousands of toys to local charities created with donated resin, machine time, and labor from its members.


Started in 1999 and now in its 15th year, the program has delivered more than a half million toys over its lifetime to a variety of Detroit-area charities. Dawn Cooper of South, Lyon, Mich.-based material supplier Uniplas has worked with the program for the last four years, taking over for Don Root, Uniplas’s founder and former board member of the SPE Detroit Section that kicked off the toy-donation program 15 years ago.


Cooper said this year donations came from Chevron Phillips Chemical (12,000 lb of PE), Maple Press (custom labels),  and E.L. Hollingsworth (transportation), with American Plastic Toys, a Michigan-based toy producer, donating two weeks of production time, as well as assembly and packaging, to create this year’s toy: a small bus.


Minus metal axels, all parts for the more than 30,000 buses were injection molded plastics, including four tires, four hub caps, and one body piece that snap fit together. The Detroit Police Department’s Sergeant Santa program received about 10,100 toys this year, with the remainder going to the local United Way chapter.


Back in 1999, all the donated toys, which have included various cars, trucks, jeeps, and buses over the years, went to Toys for Tots. Since then they had been split between the United Way and Lion’s Club, with 2014 being the first year the program worked with the Detroit Police Department.


Ongoing for 15 years with more than a half of million toys distributed throughout the area, the program’s reach has grown quite long. Visiting an American Legion Post recently, Cooper spied a former donated toy on the shelf which had found its way there via a program to donate gifts to needy veterans.


This year unlike year’s past, Cooper had the opportunity to be on hand when the toys were delivered. “I was able to be there when the toys were delivered and picked up,” Cooper said. “It’s actually quite heartwarming as opposed to dropping it off at a warehouse—this year was kind of special.”


Here’s to many more special years for the unique program and its participants (pictured below, Detroit Police Department with the delivered toys).