The crisis brought on by Hurricane Sandy may just make this year’s Queens Chronicle Holiday Toy Drive the most important ever.
This is the 18th year the paper has sponsored a toy and gift drive for needy children in Queens, and we need your help more than ever to bring them holiday cheer. Each year hundreds of children in homeless shelters benefit from our readers’ largesse, but as everyone knows, there are hundreds of newly homeless families whose dwellings were lost to the storm.
This year we’ll be providing toys and other gifts to children at the Metro Family Residence in Elmhurst and Dove House, a shelter for women and children victimized by domestic violence. We’ll also be giving them to the Glendale-Maspeth United Methodist Church for distribution, and to one or more established, reputable organizations that can get them to families who lost so much to the hurricane.
That’s in addition to the amazingly successful collection of clothes, shoes, toiletries, cleaning supplies and the like that the Chronicle has been holding ever since the storm [see separate story in most editions, or at qchron.com].
We know you’re hit with requests for donations of all kinds all the time. But charity begins at home, and we also know you’ll come through for the children of Queens this Christmas season, as you do every year.
“There’s a tremendous outpouring of charity for the hurricane victims, and many of the toys we collect will go to them,” said Mark Weidler, the Queens Chronicle publisher and a father of two young children. “But we must also remember those kids who are homeless throughout the year. I’m proud to continue our tradition of facilitating this toy drive to bring hundreds of gifts to needy children throughout Queens.”
In coming weeks you’ll be seeing articles featuring letters to Santa Claus from the children in the shelters, asking for the presents they want the most. Be prepared: Sometimes the children tell a little of their personal stories, and they can be compelling.
Popular gift choices for the younger set include dolls, cars and trucks, robots, coloring books, picture books, games, puzzles and any toys that are appropriate for infants. Teenagers — and please don’t forget them — are big on miniature earphones, portable speakers, hip T-shirts, skateboards and accessories such as hats, gloves, scarves, cologne and cosmetics.
Please leave your gifts unwrapped so they may be given to children of the appropriate ages. They may be dropped off at the Chronicle office from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. We’re located at 62-33 Woodhaven Blvd. in Rego Park, about a quarter mile south of Long Island Expressway Exit 19, on the east side of the street, one door from the corner of 62nd Road.
After business hours, gifts may be dropped off next door at Barosa restaurant, at 62-29 Woodhaven Blvd., or Barosa Brick Oven Pizza, at 62-37. Please leave your name and the name of your community with any gifts brought after hours so we may thank you later along with the donors who come to our office directly.
We’ll be taking gifts until Dec. 20 so our partner organizations have enough time to get them to the children before Christmas. If you have any questions, please call us at (718) 205-8000. We thank you in advance for your support, as these are trying times for so many in Queens, and your help will bring a lot of joy to a lot of children who need it.