Tag Archives: Toy Drive

Queens Courier toy drive to help local Boys and Girls Club


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Boys and Girls Club of Metro Queens

Help bring joy to the youngest members of the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Queens this holiday season.

Once again, The Queens Courier will be collecting toys for its annual holiday gift drive. The Boys and Girls Club of Metro Queens is asking for donations of new toys for 83 girls and 83 boys between the ages of 5 and 10. The Courier will wrap and deliver the toys.

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The organization’s elementary school program introduces children to a range of topics such as robotics, astronomy, video game development, visual arts and sport activities. They emphasize STEM enrichment and provide homework assistance and tutoring for young people. Also, cultural understanding is highlighted as children are led to explore various cultures through food, music and dance.

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Donations can be dropped off at The Courier’s office, located at 38-15 Bell Blvd.

Visit www.metroqueens.org for more information on the Boys and Girls Club.

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Vallone hosts holiday fair


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

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 When the organization’s sponsor rescinded, Vallone urged the Astoria community to donate to the local cause, using his office as a drop-off location.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.”

 

Courier brings early Christmas to SQBGC


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Melissa Chan and Billy Rennison

Their eyes glistened like Christmas lights as they saw the dozens upon dozens of wrapped gifts that were laid out before them.

And soon, their booming chants of “Santa! Santa! Santa!” would summon St. Nick.

Or at least “Santa Steve,” but still a jolly man in red who came bumbling in with the promise of presents.

On Thursday, December 15, Courier reporters — playing Santa and his Christmas elves — distributed hundreds of toys to the underprivileged youngsters of the South Queens Boys & Girls Club (SQBGC).

“I think that’s the earliest Santa has ever come [to the Boys & Girls club]. It was a really nice surprise for them,” said Denis Dwyer, the club’s program director. “They had no clue. It really made their day.”

Thanks to generous donations from the All American Car Club in Ozone Park, constituents of Assemblymember Ed Braunstein and Courier staff, advertisers and readers, The Courier was able to donate hundreds of toys to the Boys & Girls Club — with sacks of presents left over for the remaining club members at their holiday party.

The first 30 kids — out of a group of more than 50 — to receive gifts were chosen and rewarded based on the high points they accumulated doing their homework at the club, Dwyer said.

“We picked kids who have been hitting the books hard,” he said, adding that most of them were in kindergarten through second grade.

And the excitement of the young group helped to douse any doubts other kids might have had about the real St. Nick.

“They really believed Santa was there,” Dwyer said.

After all the gifts were distributed, each eager child gripped his own as they counted down from three with Santa Steve.

And then off flew the wrapping paper — unveiling Barbie dolls, race cars, board games and more.

“There was a nice buzz about that the whole day, and we had a lot of kids running to their parents at the end of the day to tell them and show them their new toys,” Dwyer said.

Founded in 1957, SQBGC strives to help young people improve their lives by building self-esteem and developing values and skills during critical periods of growth. The group’s mission is to inspire and enable all young people, especially those from at-risk and disadvantaged circumstances.

Local official team up to help during Holiday Toy, Coat and Food Drive


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Councilmember James Gennaro

A joint effort across eastern Queens is attempting to provide children and their families with warm bodies, full stomachs and plenty of presents to open on Christmas.

Councilmember James Gennaro united with New York Cares service events manager Joseph Salas, Marine Corps Staff Sergeants Daniel Sweeney and David Bonney of the Sixth Communications Battalion and other community leaders on December 2 to initiate his annual Holiday Toy, Coat and Food Drive.

“It seems like this is the least we can do, particularly when times are very tough,” said Gennaro, whose drive will last through December 16. “We feel the people who give get more out of it than those who receive.”

During the event, the Marines delivered collection boxes for their Toys for Tots program to the councilmember’s office, where coats are also being gathered for donation to New York Cares.

“I’d like to thank the councilmember for his continued support,” said Salas. “We have partnered with the councilmember for quite a few years and to see the continued support is inspiring.”

Food is also being collected at Gennaro’s office, located at 185-10 Union Turnpike in Fresh Meadows, for donation to St. Nicholas of Tolentine Roman Catholic Church in Jamaica and the Samuel Field Y in Little Neck.

“Even in these very difficult and challenging times, it’s very comforting and reassuring to know our community is a responsive, caring community and our elected officials take a role in making sure needs are met,” said Steven Goodman, executive vice president of the Samuel Field Y.

Along with Gennaro’s office, donations can also be made at Senator Toby Ann Stavisky’s office, located 144-36 Willets Point Boulevard in Flushing, Assemblymember Rory Lancman’s office, at 159-16 Union Turnpike in Hillcrest, or the headquarters of Community Board 8, located at 197-15 Hillside Avenue in Hollis.

St. John’s toy drive teaches life lessons


| amanning@queenscourier.com

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There was a local celebrity trotting around St. John’s University last week – one who has a golden complexion, lots of fur, and four legs.

It was Hooper, the beloved dog of Professor Jane Paley and the face of the annual Hooper’s Toy Drive, which is organized by Paley’s public relations campaign class.

Professor Jane Paley’s class goes above and beyond to practice the art of public relations. In 2008, she started the drive to help provide Christmas toys to inner-city children, while simultaneously teaching her students how to promote and fundraise.

Students are collecting unwrapped toys and monetary donations for the school’s Bread and Life organization, which provides food and a helping hand to the poor. Each group in the class has also picked an additional charity to donate to, one of which is St. Jude’s Children Hospital.

Last year’s campaign class collected 2,500 toys. Hooper’s Toy Troopers, as this year’s class has coined themselves, is hoping to outdo that number. It is this competitive spirit combined with a collective altruistic mindset that makes the drive work so well.

“This year I’m happy to be a part of it, and I’m looking forward to helping surpass last year’s amount,” says Ryen Mills, a senior, who added that there is no greater feeling than to see a child smile just as she and so many of her classmates did during the holiday season.

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/hooperstoydrive. If you would like to donate, visit www.hooperstroopers.weebly.com.