This year, one of the beneficiaries of the Queens Chronicle’s 17th annual Toy Drive is the River Fund New York.
A nonprofit group with headquarters in Richmond Hill, it’s been around 20 years with a mission to feed and empower people living near or below the poverty level. In Queens, the River Fund primarily works with families in Richmond Hill, Jamaica, South Ozone Park and Ozone Park.
The organization’s primary focus is its food bank, distributing canned and boxed food weekly at its offices at 89-11 Lefferts Blvd. in Richmond Hill and twice a month through its mobile unit at Rufus King Park in Jamaica. Last year, it distributed holiday toys at the park and will do the same this year, according to Maureen Almirez, donations coordinator.
The River Fund expects to serve 43,000 children in 2011 in Queens and at its Coney Island site. That number is up almost 4,000 from 2010.
It also gave out Easter baskets in the spring and backpacks in the fall. The River Fund organized a basketball league last year and in the fall took youngsters on a trip to a Long Island farm.
Almirez said her organization is thrilled to be getting new, unwrapped toys from the toy drive. But we need your help. The River Fund serves about 800 children in Queens.
In addition, this year as in the past, toys are also going to two city family shelters: the Metro in East Elmhurst and the Briarwood. They house a total of over 300 children.
So please don’t wait. We need your gifts now so they can be distributed early.
We’d like to thank the following readers who have already dropped off presents: M. Chan of Rego Park, Judith Furman of Forest Hills, Steven Malecki of Sunnyside, Alexandra Chartier of Forest Hills, Lucille Egbers of Jackson Heights and J. Jawts of Forest Hills.
New, unwrapped gifts can be dropped off at the Chronicle office, 62-33 Woodhaven Blvd., Rego Park, Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. until Dec. 20. We are located one-quarter mile south of the Long Island Expressway.
Please leave your name, organization, if it applies, and address with the front desk so we can thank you in upcoming editions.
Another drop-off location is the office of Councilman Eric Ulrich at 93-06 101 Ave. in Ozone Park or after-hours and on weekends next door to the Chronicle office at Barosa’s restaurant, 62-29 Woodhaven Blvd. or Barosa To Go at 62-37 Woodhaven Blvd.