September 20, 2010

For more information, contact: Michele Talwani – 603.682.6085

Collection Includes Beanie Babies©, Webkinz©, and Soccer Balls

MANCHESTER, NH – On Saturday, September 11, the Manchester VISTA Project (MVP) began a month-long drive to collect new and gently used Beanie Babies©, Webkinz©, and new soccer balls for troops to give children overseas. The drive began as part of the Verizon Wireless Center’s troop deployment event with VISTAs (Volunteers in Service to America) manning tables in event parking lots and distributing fliers to businesses along Elm Street.

MVP’s drive will collect items that U.S. troops have deemed highly effective in gaining the trust and friendship of young non-combatants. According to Operation Gratitude and Beanies for Baghdad—two national programs that coordinate care package mailings to troops–giving these toys as gifts to children abroad fosters good will between civilians and members of the military, enabling troops to obtain crucial information and aid.

“I think it’s a really great and creative way to help the troops” said Jesse Cloutier, MVP VISTA Leader, who helped organize the drive. “These are toys that people once rushed to collect and have now lost their dollar value and gone into storage, but through the drive we can give them new value.”

The drive will run until October 10, 2010. Donations of Beanie Babies ©, Webkinz© and new soccer balls are being accepted at Families in Transition – New Horizons, 161 South Beech Street, Manchester, New Hampshire. Interested persons may contact Jesse Cloutier at 603-935-7900, ext. 1718 for more information.

The Manchester VISTA Project is a network of AmeriCorps*VISTAs serving in the Manchester community. MVP is sponsored by Families in Transition – New Horizons.

Families in Transition – New Horizons is a nonprofit organization that provides safe, affordable housing and comprehensive social services to individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, enabling them to gain self-sufficiency and respect. FIT also owns and operates two thrift stores in Manchester and Concord, NH which serve as an economic engine to help pay for services they provide. For more information about FIT, its programs and stores, and MVP visit or call 603-641-9441.


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