I have always been impressed on how Jason F. Wright, writes and when you read his books, how you often want to go out and make a difference in the world. Well, obviously Jason and his wife have taught that same principle of giving ...to their kids. Look at the idea they came up with!
Kids launch toy crane, stuffed animal project for Oklahoma tornado
June 11, 2013
My children have always enjoyed playing the toy crane machines that guard the
entrances of grocery stores, malls, restaurants and arcades. Kason Wright, my
9-year-old son, has such a high success rate that the folks who service these
machines coordinate their restocking schedule with his allowance day.
We often joke that if dropping out of elementary school and turning pro were
an option, he'd hold a press conference, hire an agent and line up sponsorship
My wife reminds me the kids come by their toy crane prowess honestly. I've
been playing the toy crane since the toys were slathered in lead paint and the
cost was just a nickel. Even now as an old-timer on the toy-crane circuit I'll
often stop to play when I'm on my own. "Never let the skills go rusty," I tell
One night last week, I listened as the boys giggle-chatted in the backseat
about their embarrassment of stuffed-animals riches after a particularly
successful stop at our local Walmart in Woodstock, Va. Kason and his 6-year-old
brother, Koleson, had just won three times on our way out of the store.
Then, before we'd even left the shopping center parking lot, Kason asked the
kind of question parents live for. "Dad, what if we sent all our toy crane
prizes to the kids in Oklahoma who lost their stuffed animals in the tornado?"
I stopped the car and looked over my shoulder. "Really?"
"Well, we've got lots and some of those kids probably lost all of their
It was yet another reminder that my children's goodness surpasses mine in
almost every imaginable way.
By the time we pulled in to the driveway, Kason and Koleson had decided that
their friends might also want to send their own toy crane prizes and other
stuffed animals. They dubbed it The Toy Crane Project and made plans for a website to invite others to join their
Later that night my wife and two daughters returned home and I listened as
the boys laid out their idea. There's nothing quite like hearing your 6-year-old
son describe with pure giddiness his plans to build a website with pictures,
video and "infostructions."
Over the next few days, the boys began telling people about their project and
started sorting through their own stash of stuffed animals. Meanwhile, longtime
family friend Eric Farnsworth helped with graphics, Aaron Lee compiled a
highlight reel for YouTube and Stephen
Funk donated both expertise and Web
space for the site.
Before details had even been announced, good pals Stuart Freakley and his
young daughter, Anna, were on our porch donating the very first collection of
stuffed animals. Kason and Koleson got their older sisters excited about the
project, too, and organized piles of stuffed critters began appearing on the
Thanks to our good friends at the Shenandoah County Chamber of Commerce, we
soon had a drop-off location for local donations and a mailing address for
others who might wish to help from a distance. Anyone who knows her - or the
spirit of the chamber - wasn't surprised that Jenna French, executive director,
couldn't say "Yes!" fast enough.
Just like that, in less than a week, the desire to do good went from a dream
hatched in the backseat of our car to plush reality.
Hours before the website and video went live, I asked Kason what he hoped the
Toy Crane Project would accomplish. "I want to help make the kids in Oklahoma
happy and feel loved and cared for."
"I think you just might do that," I answered.
If you'd like to join the project, please send your 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. If volume surpasses the need, donations will be stored until opportunity
arises in other areas. If we've learned anything this year, it's that we do not
control the when and where of disaster, we only control the response.
So, whether you're a fan of toy cranes or not, whether you're a child or an
adult, whether you live in Virginia, Utah or points in between, you are invited
to join the childlike dream of two boys with a simple plan. With your help, we
can "make the kids in Oklahoma happy and feel loved and cared for." Read more of Jason's work here: