Toy Drive Enriches Holidays for Kids

Claudia Anaya

This holiday season, 7 million children in the United States won’t experience the joy of opening presents under a tree. With a failing economy, the number of children living in poverty is certain to rise.

With Christmas approaching and as people begin to buy presents for their loved ones, many parents lack the funds to provide their children with basic necessities.

GCC is teaming up with the Fred Jordan Mission for the annual Christmas toy giveaway in downtown Los Angeles.

Through Nov. 20, GCC is accepting monetary donations, new and unwrapped toys in the student center.

The children who will receive the donated gifts come from poor working families to “block houses, where there are rooms with three or four families living there,” said Debbie Smith, volunteer coordinator of the Fred Jordan Mission.

“It’s a way for them to have a Christmas,” said Saba Bekele, 23, business and film major, who contacted the student center and the Fred Jordan Mission to begin the project.

Bekele began the toy drive this year after she had seen an ad in one of her classes letting students know that they could begin a drive in their school or community.

“I’ve done it since I turned 16. I’ve bought toys and donated them to a police station or a fire station. I thought to get the school involved; more toys for more people,” said Bekele.

“Every year about “2,500 to 3,000 kids attend,” said Smith who says “it’s our goal to have enough toys for everyone, three toys for each kid.”

The children are “thrilled,” said Smith describing the children’s expression when they receive their gifts, “you see them on the streets opening their bag trying to see what they got.”

Items needed are listed as: toys for babies, stuffed animals, dolls, action figures, barrettes and makeup kits for girls, crayons, colored pencils, pens, coloring books, children’s books, board games, hand held games, sports equipment, toy cars or trucks, building blocks, and puzzles.

Bekele advises people to drop the toys off at the student center to prevent from damaging the toys since people have been throwing trash in the donation bins located around school.

The older kids would appreciate basketballs and footballs.

For more information and if you want to get involved call Hoover Zariani at (818) 240-1000, ext. 5789