Wireless Zone, Marine Corps Reserves team up for kids

Times Observer photo by Stacey Gross Andrew Hulse, employee at the North Warren Wireless Zone.

Wireless Zone in North Warren is partnering with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve again this year for the annual Toys For Tots Drive.

The Wireless Zone location, which according to store manager Chris Drexel has been there six years, has been participating in Toys For Tots annually since it opened. Toys For Tots is one of four programs the franchise participates in annually, said Drexel, with other community service projects being a backpack program and tree planting.

“This is a franchise,” said Drexel, “not a corporation. We really do a lot to reach out to the community. We want to give back to the community because it’s the right thing to do, not because we have to.”

Drexel said that in exchange for donations to the Toys For Tots box inside the store, in the Warren Commons shopping plaza, customers can get discounts on phones and accessories. At the end of the drive, Drexel said, the company will tally the number of donations made by customers and match it.

“If we get 40 toys we’ll put another 40 with it,” said Drexel.

The franchise, which operates 14 locations throughout northwestern Pennsylvania and into West Virginia, Drexel said, participates in community outreach programs in all 14 locations. The hope, he said, is not just to make a difference for kids on Christmas, but to inspire other local businesses to participate as well.

“If we have an impact on others to participate, that’s what its all about,” said Drexel.

Drexel, who’s been with Wireless Zone for 14 years, said “it feels good to work for a company that part of their deal is to want to give back to the community. That’s why I’ve stayed 14 years.”