Tag Archives: Toys for Tots

Students at Howard Beach’s P.S./M.S. 207 celebrate ‘kindness’ with Toys for Tots

| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

Howard Beach’s P.S./M.S. 207 is getting into the spirit of giving this holiday season.

Marine Corps Sergeants Mike Roy and Miguel Villalobos brought the Toys for Tots donation program to the 88th Street school on Friday.

“A lot of [kids] don’t even know about the program,” Villalobos said. “Doing a little outreach opens their minds.”

In conjunction with the Marine Corps and the Howard Beach Kiwanis Club, P.S. 207 will be collecting toys under its Christmas tree until Wednesday, December 18.

“This community was so devastated after Sandy. They [the students] know what it’s like to lose everything,” said Melissa Martin, P.S. 207 guidance counselor. “Yes, we have come back and rebuilt, but so many people haven’t.”

The sergeants not only brought the toy-giving program to the school, but also addressed the monthly virtue of kindness.

“If you have a lot to give, don’t be afraid to give to someone who doesn’t have anything,” Villalobos said. “They’re going to go from having nothing to just having that coat, that Barbie.”

Each month, a select group of eight middle school students are recognized for enacting the month’s virtue. At the Marine Corps assembly, 6th through 8th graders were selected for showing November’s virtue, perseverance.

Jonathan Durso, a 7th grader, said he “studied hard” and did his best, and was recognized for his achievements.

“I tried my best with grades and homework, and I made sure I got everything in on time,” said Alessia Basone, also a 7th grade winner.

Martin said the virtues “teach kids character development,” and the newly-introduced theme of kindness, paired with Toys for Tots, is intended to promote giving to those less fortunate.

“It starts them off early with the idea that it’s good to give,” Roy said.



Howard Beach storm survivors lend hand to Typhoon Haiyan victims

| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

A local toy drive is going international.

Several medical practices from an area devastated by Sandy are collecting toys for children stateside and sending aid to those affected by the latest disaster in the Philippines.

Cross Bay Physical Therapy, Cross Bay Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation PC and Cross Bay Foot Center have partnered with Toys for Tots to revive the toy drive they have had in the past. This year, they are additionally collecting toiletries, canned foods, blankets and more for typhoon victims.

“We got hit with Sandy last year. We’ve been through a struggle,” said Dana Parker, manager of the three practices. “It’s another tragedy, and we have to help. We have to do something.”

Two of Parker’s employees have family in the Philippines, outside of th areas affected by Typhoon Haiyan, who “know where to send the donations,” Parker said.

Parker said when the idea to pass donations along to the Philippines came about, the employees instantly jumped on board.

“They had a little bit of tears in their eyes,” she said. “Knowing what we went through last year, they were honored we even asked them to be the coordinators of collecting from the whole community.”

Donations started coming in on November 14 and will be collected through December 12. For the toy drive, donations should be new, unwrapped and in their original packing. The group said toys for children ages 2 and under and 12 to 13 are most in demand.

Visit the office at 157-02 Cross Bay Boulevard, Suite 202, Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., or Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Participants can additionally enter a raffle to win an iPod when they donate.

“We’re going to come together,” Parker said.



Insurance team helped ensure a bright holiday

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy Petschauer Insurance

Petschauer Insurance in Ridgewood recently collected and donated toys to the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots program in the hopes of making the holiday season brighter for children in need.

The toys were presented to Staff Sergeant Price (second from left) by members of the Petschauer team — Rosmarie Wyszinski, Sherri Cosentino, Lauren Wisnowski and Erwin Petschauer.

St. Michael’s Cemetery gives from the heart

| aaltman@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Mike DiBartolomeo

Over the past two holiday seasons, St. Michael’s Cemetery has brought happiness to local children through participating in Toys for Tots. This past weekend marked the culmination of their annual toy drive, resulting in the collection of 720 toys for local children in need.

“[People in the community] appreciate and feel sorry for those less fortunate,” said St. Michael’s spokesperson Ed Horn. “We saw an overwhelming response.”

The U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program collects new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year. They then distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in the community.

Two hundred guests gathered in the All Soul’s Chapel at St. Michael’s Cemetery in East Elmhurst on Saturday, December 10 to celebrate the end of the toy drive and the beginning of what will now hopefully be a joyous holiday season for many area children. Guests and St. Michael’s staff welcomed two U.S. Marine Corps Sergeants who came to collect the gifts. Light refreshments were served and Hank Johnson played Christmas songs on a baby grand piano.

Local organizations, including the Central Astoria Local Development Coalition and Variety Boys and Girls Club of Long Island City donated generously to the St. Michael’s toy drive. St. Francis Elementary School donated over 300 toys.

Several families with young children brought gifts for the Marines to show their thanks and brighten their holiday season as well.

“The holidays are not just a one way street,” said Horn.

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.

Star of Queens: Mike Bilski

| amanning@queenscourier.com

Mike Bilski

East Coast Car Association – Toys for Tots

Community Involvement: Since 2008, Mike Bilski has worked with the , a club dedicated to helping the children of St. Mary’s Children’s Hospital. He is also involved in numerous other organizations, including the Middle Village Veterans Day Parade Committee, the Edward R. Miller VFW Post 7336 and the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 32 in Glendale.

Personal: Born and raised in Ridgewood, Bilski moved to Glendale 25 years ago. He tragically lost his oldest son, Michael, three years ago when he was 22 years old. He is the proud father of four children – Tiffany, 25, Joseph, 24, Brittany, 22, and Dylan, 15. Dylan, a varsity basketball player, often volunteers with him. His daughter Brittany will be singing the “Star Spangled Banner” at the Queens Veterans Parade for the second time this year.

Biggest Challenge: “Convincing people that everything we do is for the children at St. Mary’s Hospital for Children. Also, trying to find more volunteers to help us at Cruise Nights and car shows – you don’t have to have a classic or souped-up car to help out.”

Favorite Memory: “I am a car guy and when I took my Falcon to the first car show my son Dylan was very young. We won a second place trophy. Dylan was so happy, he put it on his dresser. Seeing his face – words cannot express that feeling. Also, seeing the faces of the children at St. Mary’s after the toy run. I wish I was rich, I would give a million dollars a year to St. Mary’s.”

Inspiration: “My mom. Her whole life she took care of everyone, whether it was family, friends or a stranger who needed a hand. Three years ago, I lost my oldest son and it just made me double my efforts with volunteering to help others. I know everything I do for others on Earth will give a good after-life in Heaven.”