The Toy Crane Project: Helping Oklahoma Tornado Victims

Children launch toy crane prizes and stuffed animal drive for Oklahoma tornado victims

WOODSTOCK, Va., June 13, 2013 -- With the help of parents, Jason and Kodi Wright, three siblings in Woodstock, Va. have launched The Toy Crane Project. The initiative gathers toy crane prizes and other stuffed animals for children in Oklahoma affected by the recent string of tornados.

Jadi Wright and her brothers Koleson (left) and Kason Wright prepare to sort through donations to the Toy Crane Project at the Shenandoah County Chamber of Commerce in Woodstock, Virginia.

"My kids have always loved those toy crane claw games," Jason Wright said. "They win at an astonishing rate. My 9-year-old son Kason is especially lucky. I always tell my wife that if dropping out of elementary school and turning pro were an option, our son would hold a press conference, hire an agent and line up sponsorship deals."

On June 6, after another successful trip to the toy crane game at the Walmart location in Woodstock, Kason and his 6-year-old brother, Koleson, asked Wright if they could do something unique with their collection of prizes. "Dad, what if we sent all our toy crane prizes to the kids in Oklahoma who lost their stuffed animals in the tornado?"

"There's only one answer to the question," Wright said. "What a great idea!"

Within a week, the children had recruited another sibling, an older sister, and the Toy Crane Project was launched at

Friends and family assisted with graphics, donated web space and produced a video. The children created a donation box and Virginia's Shenandoah County Chamber of Commerce in Woodstock agreed not only to serve as a local drop-off location, but to accept packages from stuffed animal donors around the country.

When asked what they hoped to accomplish, Kason spoke for the Toy Crane team. "I want to help make the kids in Oklahoma happy and feel loved and cared for."

To participate in the project, send new or very gently used toy crane prizes or other stuffed animals to the Shenandoah County Chamber of Commerce, Attention Toy Crane Project, 103 S. Main Street, Woodstock, VA 22664. Please include your name and return address.

Donations will be sorted and delivered to Oklahoma in stages throughout the summer. When volume surpasses the need, donations will be stored until opportunity arises in other areas.

"We have volunteers on the ground in Oklahoma just waiting to take deliver the very best kind of gifts. These kids aren't just sending stuffed animals, they're sending a little bit of themselves."