Title: Application Engineer
For application engineer Eric McCormick, “giving back” is not just a matter of community responsibility. It’s become a family tradition.
A Fenner Precision Polymers employee for nine years, Eric got involved with the Lancaster Toys for Tots effort in 2020, when a friend casually asked him to help. That first year, he helped in the warehouse sorting the toys and moving the pallets.
The entire McCormick family has joined the effort. Eric, his wife Megan, and his daughters Riley, 11, and Addy, 8, helped to sort and distribute toys last year, joining volunteers, who tend to spend three to four hours on multiple occasions sorting the toys by gender, age, and “function” (for example, educational or other fun toys).
In what has become a family tradition, Eric is passionate about teaching his children the importance of becoming responsible community members and giving back to those less fortunate. He wants his kids to understand that other kids may not have as much as they do or be as fortunate. Giving of your time is the start of what you can do, putting life into perspective, he says, adding that you may never know when you will need this kind of help.
The local Toys for Tots effort brightened the holidays for more than 17,000 children in 2021, and work has already begun on the 2022 season. Eric anticipates that this year will be another smashing success, as workers have already put in hundreds of volunteer hours to organize, sort, and warehouse the toys, and will continue through the holiday season.
In 2021, Eric joined the program at Fenner Precision Polymers as it’s liaison, and recently spear-headed a gift-collecting effort at the Corn Hole Tournament this August. With a registration fee of one toy, the event already collected about 60 toys. The program will continue through the end of October. He expects that the Toys for Tots will be able to distribute all Fenner-donate toys this year, since the organization got an early start. Fenner’s Wilmington, NC facility also participates locally.
To receive the gifts, families must apply for the program, participate in an interview, and be vetted to confirm eligibility. Based on the number of applications and the number of toys collected, Toys for Tots establishes the allocation for each family. In 2021, each child received three toys.
Each year, toys are handed out mid-December – organized in many long lanes through a donated space. Each client has a designated time and focused shopper who guides them through the process of finding the right toys for their family. Volunteers can be assured that all the toys collected locally stay in the area.
Eric says the organization is amazing. The amount of work in getting the toys organized, sorted, warehoused, and distributed is overwhelming, he says. And hundreds of people dedicate days and nights to the cause, with all the sorting work handled 100% by volunteers.
Nationally, the Toys for Tots organization has distributed 627 million toys to 281 million children since its founding by U.S. Marine Corps veterans in 1947.