Children’s Mercy Hospital receives truckload of toys from OOIDA, Elite Comics

December 20, 2022

Tyson Fisher


’Tis the season to be charitable. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association teamed up with Elite Comics to deliver thousands of dollars’ worth of toys to Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City.

Shoppers who on the evening of Dec. 19 visited the Target in Mission, Kan., might have been surprised to see OOIDA’s tour truck, the Spirit of the American Trucker … and Chewbacca. Based in the Kansas City area, comic book store Elite Comics gathered volunteers to dress as superheroes to do some holiday shopping.

Children's Mercy Hospital, OOIDA, Elite Comics group photo
Volunteers from OOIDA and Elite Comics loaded toys into OOIDA’s tour trailer to be delivered to Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City. (Photo by OOIDA staff)

This is an event that Elite Comics owner William Binderup has been doing for 11 years now. Binderup collects money throughout the year. Raffles, exclusive books/covers and celebrity appearances in the store are among the ways he collects funds. In business for 29 years, Binderup raises $1,000 for each year in business. This year, he surpassed that mark by raising more than $30,000 for the toy drive.

In true comic book fashion, Binderup gathers up volunteers to dress as superheroes to do the shopping. This year, there were sightings of Superwoman, Wolverine and some Star Wars characters, including Chewbacca.

Over the last 11 years, Elite Comics has raised more than $200,000 for Children’s Mercy Hospital’s Snowflake Shoppe.

The Snowflake Shoppe at Children’s Mercy Hospital Kansas City allows parents and caregivers to select gifts for children in the hospital, and their family members, at no cost, all without leaving the building. The donations come from community groups and corporate partners, past patients and even pro athletes.

All of those toys have to get to Children’s Mercy Hospital somehow. This is where OOIDA steps in.

Marty Ellis, captain of OOIDA’s tour trailer, arrived at the Target with an empty trailer. One by one, superheroes and other volunteers loaded up the trailer with bags of toys. Ellis would take those toys to Children’s Mercy Hospital to be included in its Snowflake Shoppe.

It was a tight fit for the truck, but with the help and professionalism of OOIDA Executive Vice President Lewie Pugh, The Spirit dropped off the toys for the sick children and their families during the holidays. LL