A generous donor stepped forward today, saving Christmas for a local charity after an alleged theft left organizers unable to buy toys for thousands of needy Chicago-area kids.
A man came in with a $25,000 check to cover the missing amount, said Toys for Tots Chicagoland treasurer Janet Malpede.
The donor's only stipulation? That he remains anonymous and that the gift be in memory of
, the Chicago Bears quarterback during the 1940s who led the team to four championships.
"We are thrilled," said Malpede. "It lets you know that what you've been working toward all year is worthwhile."
The alleged embezzlement by a volunteer is thought to have occurred last spring and has been under investigation by the Bridgeview police, say officials. No charges have been filed.
After news became public this week, the phone has been ringing constantly, Malpede said. Beyond the $25,000, others have made generous offers, including a donor who gave $1,000 in toys through
, Malpede said.
"It's like everyone was thinking, 'How do you take from kids?' "
The gifts are especially needed because requests for toys from families, churches and other organizations have more than doubled since last year, Malpede said. In addition to Christmas, the group distributes toys year-round to schools, hospitals and burn camps.
"This (theft) has been hard on everyone," she said. "But it makes you feel good to know that there are good people out there."