The Keeler Toy Drive is underway and, this year, we focus our attention on auction items to help fund local charities this holiday season.

In addition to supporting the New York Sash Teddy Bear Toss with the Utica Pioneers, we support the Marines' Toys for Tots, and the Utica Observer Dispatch's Operation Sunshine.

Because of the pandemic The Keeler Show is conducting the toy drive remotely and collecting toys as well.

This morning Oneida County Sheriff Rob Maciol donated, through the Oneida County Sheriff's Law Enforcement Foundation, a brand new children's New Holland T8 tractor to the auction. The new Holland Tractor goes approximately 4.5 miles per hour and cannot be used as a real tractor.  All vehicles must be used with parental supervision and are not intended to go anywhere near a real road.

The tractor is being auctioned along with two "Jack Mack Pick Up" trucks from Tom Heiland and Utica Mack.

Already there are several bids on the items.  As of this posting the following bids stand:

  • Jack Mack Pick Up: Tim Reed ($300)
  • Jack Mack Pick Up: Steve Sperbeck ($400)
  • New Holland Tractor: Andrew Derminio ($250)
  • Earle Reed $400
  • John Calidonna $500
Toy Tractor Photo Credit: Andrew Derminio, WIBX/TSM
Toy Tractor Photo Credit: Andrew Derminio, WIBX/TSM

Those placing the winning bids will be offered assembly included and an escorted delivery of the miniature trucks.

Toy Pick Up Truck Photo Credit: Andrew Derminio, WIBX, TSM
Toy Pick Up Truck Photo Credit: Andrew Derminio, WIBX, TSM

All donations are distributed through Operation Sunshine, and Toys For Tots of the United States Marines. All toys and contributions benefit local families in Greater Utica, Rome and the Mohawk Valley.

Operation Sunshine is a non-profit organization of the Observer-Dispatch.  100% of the contributions received goes directly back to the community through partnering non-profit agencies.  During their Holiday Campaign Operation Sunshine helps families in need that have children ages 13 and under in Herkimer and Oneida counties.

This holiday season Operation Sunshine is partnering with seven local non-profit agencies.  These are:

  • Catholic Charities of Herkimer County
  • Catholic Charities of Oneida Madiso Counties
  • The Mohawk alley Community Action Agency (Herkimer County)
  • The Neighborhood Center
  • Rescue Mission of Utica
  • Rome Alliance for Education-Connected Community Schools
  • Salvation Army of Utica.

The 2021 season marks the 54th holiday campaign for Operation Sunshine.  This year 1,100 families have registered for donations.

Donations may be made through the Keeler show or by:

  • Mailing a check made payable to Operation Sunshine.  The address is: 221 Oriskany Plaza, Utica, New York  13501
  • Making a credit card donation by calling Michele Howgate at: (315) 792.5003
  • Donating online at:


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