9 Family Connection: Toys for Tots needs more donations


ORLANDO, Fla. - WFTV Channel 9 is partnering with the Marines for their annual Toys for Tots drive, and Friday morning, they came to the studio in downtown Orlando to collect the donated toys.

However, Toys for Tots still need a lot of donations to make sure every child gets a gift on Christmas.

WFTV spoke with one local family about their decision to donate.

John Fudali said his 2-year-old son, Johnny Fudali, was like every other little boy his age in most every way.

"He loved this Noah's Ark toy. He would throw them on the floor and make us chase them," he said.

But Johnny faced serious challenges in his young life.  His twin sister Abby was born healthy, but Johnny dealt with multiple medical conditions from the beginning and lost his fight in July.

"It was just very sudden. We don't know what happened. [He] stopped breathing. Doctors don't know," said Johnny's mother, Robin Fudali.

Friends, family and neighbors wanted to help. John and Robin said they didn't want a house full of flowers, and suddenly, John thought, "Let people bring a toy that can be donated to Toys for Tots."

When they got to the memorial service, they were overwhelmed.

"My brother-in-law comes over and says, 'You've got to see this.' And I'm like, 'What?' And we went out there, all these toys; two huge boxes full of bicycles, toys, everything," said John.

Last week, John and Robin met up with the Marines to present them with carts full of toys. 

"He touched so many lives, and now, the thought that every one of those toys is going to impact a kid's life," he said.

The toys given from the heart of Johnny's family will end up in the arms of local children Christmas morning.

John and Robin also donated Johnny's medical equipment to other children with similar conditions.

There are two special events collecting new unwrapped toys this weekend: The Pet-A-Palooza at Seminole State College on Saturday and the Jingle Bugs Rock car show at Old Town Kissimmee on Sunday.