Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. and the East River Development Alliance (ERDA) hosted a holiday fair on December 15, during which over 200 underprivileged children from the western Queens housing development received toys, posed for pictures with Santa Claus, socialized with elves and participated in arts and crafts and other family activities.
“We are so glad to share the holidays with community members in western Queens and to provide gifts courtesy of Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr.,” said Bishop Mitchell Taylor, president and founder of ERDA. “There is no better way to celebrate the end of the year than gathering together with the families that make our community in western Queens so strong.”
ERDA, a Long Island City non-profit organization working to improve public housing neighborhoods across the city, organizes the toy drive each year with the cooperation of a sponsor. When the organization’s sponsor rescinded, Vallone urged the Astoria community to donate to the local cause, using his office as a drop-off location. After numerous generous submissions from the neighborhood, the drive’s goal was exceeded, and the toys were ready for the fair at the Astoria Houses, located at 4-25 Astoria Boulevard.
“The generosity of the people of Astoria never ceases to amaze me,” said Vallone. “In a few short days a simple request to collect toys for some of our kids who needed them most was not only met but exceeded. I want to thank ERDA, Quontic [Bank], and all who participated in our successful toy drive. As we learned from Cindy-Lou Who, Christmas is not about toys, but it’s always nice to see the look of joy on kids’ faces. Astoria is truly blessed.”