Resident turns around her windfall to help the kids



Plainville resident Erica Donovan was honored at the Dec. 18 Town Council meeting with a proclamation recognizing her for her $3,000 worth of toy donations to the Marine Corp’s Toys for Tots gift collection for children.

Donovan is a Thirty One Gifts consultant, and this year, she earned a top prize within the company: a trip to Disney Land. Though she was honored, she had something else in mind. She requested to instead be given a $3,000 gift certificate to the Disney store, buy as many gifts as she could, and donate them all to Toys for Tots.

“I considered it ‘found money’,” said Donovan. “Giving all these gifts to children was the best way to blow that money.”

She reached out to Plainville’s Marine Corps headquarters to find out the details of donating such a large amount of toys, and gave a call to the Disney store at Westfarms Mall to let them know of her plan.

With the help of a few members from the Marine Corps and Disney Store employees, Donovan began filling her cart with toys. When mall staff noticed the commotion, they stopped by to see what was going on.

Inspired by Donovan’s efforts, the Disney Store matched her $3,000 for a second shopping spree. Westfarms Mall and LEGO both matched the $3,000 to the Toys for Tots collection. Her charitable act began a ripple effect of giving.

“It was just absolutely amazing,” said Donovan. “I had so much fun and I was blown away by the amount of joy and positivity that has been spread. The experience was fulfilling, enriching and humbling.”

Town Council chair Kathy Pugliese presented Donovan with an official proclamation signed by the town of Plainville, recognizing her for her efforts.

“You have a heart of gold and we proudly acknowledge your generosity,” said Pugliese. “We offer our best wishes for you and  your family.”

In addition to the proclamation, State Representative Dr. William Petit presented Donovan with recognition from the General Assembly.

“Be it hereby known that the General Assembly offers its sincerest congratulations,” read Petit. “Your random act of kindness inspires others to do the same, creating this amazing chain reaction of holiday cheer.”

Donovan reported that she is already working on some preliminary plans for fundraisers so she can continue to make large scale donations like this one.

“Volunteerism has really become part of who I am,” Donovan said. “My family will continue building this.”

Erica Donovan with the items she purchased for Toys for Tots at the Disney Store. (SUBMITTED)