Tannenbaum Farms workers donate tips to Toys for Tots program

Each year at Tannenbaum Farms, a group of workers help families choose and cut the perfect tree to gather around for the holiday season, and they often receive tips for their hard work, but in the Christmas spirit the group has decided not to keep the money.

For the eighth consecutive year, a group of more than 20 workers at the farm combined their tip money and went shopping for toys to donate to the annual Toys for Tots program in Centre County.

This year more than $2,200 was collected from the group, whose ages range from 15 to 63, according to Martha Weidensaul, co-owner of the farm. It is the largest amount collected since the initiative began.

“I’m so proud of our workers,” Weidensaul said. “They have really bought into being givers and, to me, this is what the Christmas season is all about.”

The bulk of the toys were purchased at Ollie’s Bargain Outlet on South Atherton Street in State College. Weidensaul said, on several nights this month a small group traveled to the store after their shift at the farm.

“After working a long shift at the farm, they would head out shopping and have a good time picking out toys for the kids,” Weidensaul said. “They would also speak to the manager of the store and after explaining what they’re doing they would receive a nice discount.”

Retired Marine Corps Maj. Gene Weller, director of the Centre County Toys for Tots program, said the donation from the Tannenbaum workers is what the program and the season is all about.

“Every year the Tannenbaum workers have increased their donation,” Weller said. “I think it’s just great and it’s community members like this that make the program a success.”

Each child in the program receives four toys that are valued at $10-$12, Weller said. He estimated that the workers contributed almost 200 toys this year.

“I’m just amazed at what our workers have done,” Weidensaul said. “And while the farm plays a role in this, it’s really all about the workers. This is all about their generosity and hard work.”

Weller said that throughout the years he has seen generosity from many different sources around the county, which makes the program and the season very special.

“Tannenbaum’s efforts are just another example of the spirit of Christmas being alive and well in Centre County,” Weller said.