Every day, celebrity elves under the watchful eye of Antoinette Machiaverna are wandering outside NBC’s “Today” studio, collecting toys from viewers.
The celebrity visits are part of the show’s annual toy drive, which last year, between corporate and viewer contributions, collected $36 million worth of products for very needy kids.
“It’s very near and dear to those of us who have been on the show,” Machiaverna said yesterday of the drive.
Planning starts in February, and the process won’t end until everything has been delivered to organizations, big and small, around the country.
The drive was started in 1994, when “Today” collected 1,100 toys. Machiaverna estimates that the celebrity collectors will pick up 30,000 items by the time the 2006 drive ends Dec. 22.