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Woman belled for helping with group's toy drive
Ben’s bells

Woman belled for helping with group's toy drive

  • Updated

Left to right: Adrian Maiuri, Mary Swallow, Laurie McManus, Tracy Smith, Clare Gastineau and Terry Gallegos.

What: Ben’s Bells promotes kindness and community involvement. Each week a person who makes Tucson better is “belled.”

Last week’s recipient: Laurie McManus

Nominated by: Terry S. Gallegos

Why: For organizing a toy drive. Laurie McManus organized a toy drive for a group of women who met at Tucson Parks and Recreation pottery classes. Once classes were suspended last March due to the pandemic, the group stayed in touch. As the holidays approached, Laurie suggested the toy drive, but with a unique twist. She gave each of us a secret person to shop for, get a toy that supports that person’s interests, or profession, wrap it, and write a poem about the person and the toy. We would meet to exchange the gifts, guess who the gift was selected for and then donate the toys to Toys for Tots. Even though socially distanced and with masking precautions, it was fun to hear the poetry and guess who inspired the gifts. Some of the toys and recipients included a football fan who received a football, a pediatric therapist who got a baby doll, and a pre-school teacher who was given a toy school bus. All of the toys were taken to Tucson Fire Department and donated in time to spread holiday cheer in our community. Importantly, Laurie spends her workday as a nurse practitioner, making sure people with COVID-19 symptoms get recognized and tested.

For more information: Go to to submit a name. Go to or call 520-622-1379.

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