There’s still time for you to participate in the Queens Chronicle’s 19th annual Holiday Toy Drive, now underway. But time is running out and the need is great.
We are collecting new toys for children at the Kings Inn in East Elmhurst and the Metro Family Residence in Elmhurst, both city homeless shelters, and Dove House, a refuge for domestic violence victims and their children in Eastern Queens. There are more than 400 children living temporarily at the three facilities.
So far, toys collected barely scratch the surface of what we need. The drive continues to Dec. 20, a little more than a week away. The sooner we get your gifts, the sooner they can go to the shelters.
This week, we have some letters to Santa from youngsters staying at the Kings Inn. There are 250 children living there, mostly infants, toddlers and teenagers. Here are a few samples:
Jerry’s mom writes for her toddler son that he needs floor mats for crawling, baby books and “to get me and my mommy out of the shelter.”
Alana would like the book “Evangeline Mudd and the Great Mink Escapade” by David Elliott, Junior Monopoly and a Strawberry Shortcake coloring/activity book.
Justin, 14, likes to read and asks for a gift card from Barnes and Noble. “I would also like to take my family to dinner so some gift cards from Burger King or McDonald’s will be OK,” he wrote.
Bella, 3, asks for a Play-Doh cupcake maker playset, Dora the Explorer house toy and a fluffy stuffed animal, preferably a unicorn or pony.
Baby Levi’s mom requests a big bag of candy and a football — “and send my mommy a real man,” she writes.
Eileen, 6, asks Santa for a Lego friends set, a cash register and a Barbie car.
Arnold is seeking lots of DVDs including “Jake and the Neverland Pirates,” Spider-Man and X-Men cartoons and Marvel action figure sets.
Natalie would like a Barbie doll and a coloring set.
Nelson would like a toy airplane, Play-a-Sound board books and Disney DVDs including “The Lion King,” “Peter Pan,” “Cars” and “Toy Story” 1, 2 or 3.
The mother of Sandy, who is 10 months old, would like a Barbie doll, and Elmo doll and Baby Play Time set for her daughter.
Danny is asking for Legos, a jigsaw puzzle and a car, while David wants a big toy car or truck and some books.
We’ve also heard from Dove House residents. Denise, 4, likes to play with dolls, puzzles, Dora the Explorer and anything computerized.
Lee, 4, would like action figures, especially Spider-Man, and cars.
We’ve also received letters from the Metro Family Residence. Here are some examples:
“This Christmas is rough. I would like a doll with hair and a teddy bear,” writes Toni.
Brian would like a Nerf gun and a Nerf watch. “I hope you have a great day,” he wrote to Santa.
Candie asks for a big teddy bear and a blue roller book bag, while Nancy, 3, writes for herself and her 2-year-old sister, Heather. They would like dolls, toy cars and teddy bears.
And don’t forget the many teens who live in these shelters. Popular gifts for them include makeup, cologne and perfume, scarf sets, jewelry, basketballs and T-shirts.
Unwrapped items may be dropped off Monday through Friday until Dec. 20 from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Chronicle office, 62-33 Woodhaven Blvd., in Rego Park, about a quarter mile south of the Long Island Expressway, exit 19, on the east side of the street.
After business hours, presents may be left at Barosa restaurant, next door to the Chronicle at 62-29 Woodhaven Blvd., or Barosa Brick Oven Pizza at 62-37.
Please leave your name and where you live with any gifts brought after hours so we may thank you later.
In addition, Assemblyman Ed Braunstein (D-Bayside) will donate a portion of the toys in his drive to the Chronicle’s. His office is located at 213-33 39 Ave., Suite 238 in Bayside. The deadline for his drive is Dec. 18.
Thanks to the following Chronicle readers who dropped off gifts over the last week: Ellen McRae of Queens Village, Pat Zatkowski of Howard Beach, Vicent Ciccia of Flushing, Kathleen Pearsall of Howard Beach, Joan DeChirico-Gampat of Flushing, Ellen and Leon Bruno of Middle Village, James Lindener of Howard Beach, Myrna Colon of Middle Village, Joanne Giseppi of Woodhaven, Donna Conett of Kew Gardens, Marie Pasini of Middle Village and the Howard Beach Kiwanis Club, which donated an assortment of footballs, soccer balls and more with the help of Eddie O’Brien, store manager of the Sports Authority in Glendale.
We hope to see you soon.