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Lockport woman running toy drive for third year

LOCKPORT – A Lockport woman who was inspired to help children by her experiences while recovering from brain surgery is hosting a toy drive for the third consecutive year.

Maria M. Fava said the idea for the Believe Toy Drive came to her in the wake of health difficulties a few years ago that led to her operation at Women & Children’s Hospital in Buffalo.

“While recovering at the hospital, I had the pleasure of spending some time with the children on my floor. It brought me great joy to play a simple game of cards with these bright young children who had smiles big enough to fill the room no matter how great their own misfortunes or health problems were at the time,” Fava said.

“Children always have a special way of renewing my sense of inner peace, keeping me humble and grounded. They show us this life is precious, as their innocence and lively spirits often remind us of the important things in life: simplicity, laughing, enjoying every moment to the fullest,” she continued.

“This Christmas I want to ‘pay it forward’ and return some of those smiles that were given to me when I was recovering years ago.”

The toys donated will go to kids at Women & Children’s.

“Many children spend their holidays in the hospital, receiving treatment, recovering from surgeries or fighting for their lives,” Fava said. “Instead of asking Santa for toys this year, some children are simply asking for Christmas miracles of good health and some are even asking for the gift of life itself.

“I have started a drive to collect toys and other items they are in need of for the Christmas season,” she said. “I have high hopes of collecting many gifts for the children. This is a topic near to my heart.”

A Facebook page entitled Believe Toy Drive 2015 contains the “wish list” from the hospital. Fava also has created a GoFundMe page under Believe Toy Drive 2015, where monetary donations for toy purchases may be made.

Those who want to buy their own toys or gift cards, or donate cash, may bring them to drop-off sites at Molinaro’s Ristorante, 90 Walnut St.; Lockport Music Center, 5996 Snyder Drive; Spring Lake Winery, 7373 Rochester Road; Lockport Dental Group 39 Elizabeth Drive; and Advantage Physical Therapy, 5556 Davison Road. In line with hospital policy, all toys must be new and unwrapped.

More information is available by contacting Fava at 940-1045 or at