Toy drive aimed at helping children connected to child abuse case

GLOVERSVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Two local women have started a toy drive for five children whose mother was arrested in connection to a child abuse case.

Five Gloversville children are in the care of their grandfather after their mother and her boyfriend were arrested in what police called the worst case of child abuse they’ve ever seen.

But two local women wanted to make sure the kids still have a nice Christmas by setting up a Facebook page called “Toy Drive for Five.”

The children are now staying with their grandfather.

“It’s a great responsibility to take on your grandchild alone; much less five of them,” Victoria Yusko said.

The children’s mother, Hali Waight, was arrested for not seeking help after her 20-year-old boyfriend, Jose Acevedo, allegedly abused her 2-year-old son.

“Of course, like every other parent, I was horrified,” Yusko said. “Just horrified that somebody could do something like that to an innocent child.”

That’s when Yusko and her friend Aimee Ricciardi decided to do something.

“Just a couple people getting together to make sure this child and the siblings had a nice Christmas,” Yusko said.

The two women started the “Toy Drive for Five” Facebook page to collect a few Christmas gifts for the children. Now, more than 1,000 people are saying they’ll be at the toy drive on Sunday.

“It just went from, ‘Oh, well, I’ll help,’ and just a couple people here and there had joined in, and now it’s just enormous,” Yusko said.

Yusko said everything collected will go to the police department, which will ensure the children get the donations.

“Non-perishable foods; they can contribute clothing, toys,” Yusko said.

Yusko said Gloversville can get a bad reputation, but she’s overwhelmed to see the way the community is pulling together.

“Gloversville, there’s a lot of good people in Gloversville still that have big hearts,” she said. “And as a community, we always group together and support one another.”

The toy drive will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at 530 North Perry St. in Johnstown.

The children are all boys who love wrestling, sports, cars, trucks and games.

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