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Queens Chronicle

Chronicle’s 17th toy drive starts

Underprivileged youngsters from three locations will get presents

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Posted: Thursday, November 17, 2011 12:00 pm | Updated: 12:12 pm, Wed Nov 23, 2011.

The turkeys have yet to be put in the oven and basted, but it’s not a minute too soon to participate in the Queens Chronicle’s 17th annual holiday toy drive for needy youngsters.

With Thanksgiving less than a week away, while shopping for those sweet potatoes and pumpkin pies, take a little time to purchase toys for the hundreds of children who have little to look forward to this year from Santa.

Youngsters who live in the city-run Metro Family Shelter in Elmhurst and the Briarwood Family Shelter and those in programs with the River Fund New York in Richmond Hill will benefit from your generosity.

We can always count on our readers to come through with lots of presents. We hope this year will be no different.

The need is great. There are 150 children living at the Metro, 153 at Briarwood and about 800 involved in the River Fund organization, which among other things works with homeless families.

For those children living away from home in shelters for an average of four months, holiday time can be bleak. Let’s make their Christmas special this year with a new toy or an age-appropriate gift for the teenagers.

Queens Chronicle Publisher Mark Weidler, the father of two young children, said now more than ever people need to give holiday presents for the needy. “In these tough economic times, we have to remember those less fortunate than us,” Weidler said.

Noemi Castro, case manager at Metro, said there are several newborns there and she hopes readers will not forget them. Susan Suarez, a staff member at Briarwood, is looking forward to receiving lots of gifts for the younger residents at that shelter. Maureen Almirez, donations coordinator at the River Fund, is thrilled the Chronicle is including her organization in the toy drive.

Popular gift choices for the younger set are dolls, stuffed toys, infant toys, trucks, robots, picture and story books, games, puzzles and coloring books. Teens prefer jewelry, accessories such as gloves and scarves, sports items, cologne and cosmetics.

Please do not donate used toys or clothing. Only new, unwrapped gifts will be accepted. Presents will be given out before the holiday.

The toy drive ends Dec. 20 to give the facilities time to organize and distribute the gifts. Donations may be dropped off at the Chronicle office at 62-33 Woodhaven Blvd. in Rego Park from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. We are located one-quarter mile from the Long Island Expressway. For information, call (718) 205-8000.

Also accepting gifts for the toy drive is the Ozone Park district office of Councilman Eric Ulrich at 93-06 101 Ave. For after-hours or on weekends, presents may be left next door from the Chronicle at Barosa’s restaurant, 62-29 Woodhaven Blvd. or Barosa To Go at 62-37 Woodhaven Blvd.

The sooner we get your gifts, the faster they can be sorted for holiday distribution. Let’s not disappoint the children. Christmas is a little over five weeks away.

We thank you in advance for your many years of support and we look forward to seeing you soon.

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