ELYRIA — Andrew Papes has a soft spot for tattoos — and The Chronicle-Telegram’s Not-Forgotten Box.
On Friday, Papes, 18, brought a toy fire truck to Illustrators Tattoo & Piercing and got a $10 coupon in return.
The truck will go to the Not-Forgotten Box, while he used the coupon to offset the cost of the tattoo going on his left arm. The tattoo is based on a Japanese tale about a fish that became a dragon after successfully jumping a waterfall.
“My mom doesn’t mind too much if it has a meaning,” Papes said of the art decorating his body.
The tattoo artist, Justin Grant, got to work filling in the elaborate design with colors that popped.
“Tattoos hurt, but that’s all part of the experience,” Grant said.
The shop’s owner, Jeff Sylvester, is offering the $10 coupon special to anyone who brings in a toy to donate through Dec. 23. He said the shop collected Christmas toys previously for other charities and decided to help the Not-Forgotten Box toy drive this year.
Also taking advantage of the coupon special were 19-year-old Holly Finch and 18-year-old Margaret Nakles, both of Avon Lake.
They brought in toys and got nose piercings — normally $25 — for $15 each.
“Super awesome,” Finch said, while studying the tiny stud nestled in her nostril. “It’s just a little bling on your nose.”
Meanwhile, approximately 600 toys have been collected since the Not-Forgotten Box donations officially begin on Monday, said Lucy Goldsmith, customer service manager for The Chronicle-Telegram.
She said people have all kinds of great stories and traditions about the Not-Forgotten Box, ranging from donations made in someone’s memory to children who have collected pennies, cans or other items to raise money to purchase toys for other kids in need.
The last day to donate in order to get the gifts to children who need them is Dec. 14. There are about 1,100 children signed up for this year’s program through the Elyria Salvation Army.
The goal is 8,000 toys, she said.
This is the 54th year the newspaper has led the drive to collect holiday gifts for area children.
Toy drop-off is 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday at the newspaper.
Cash donations are also accepted. Make checks out to the Not-Forgotten Box and mail or drop them off at 225 East Ave., Elyria, OH 44035.
For anyone wishing to give toys to the Not-Forgotten Box, there will be a drive-through donation day 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. today in the parking lot of The Chronicle-Telegram.
Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or firstname.lastname@example.org.