“My No. 1 wish is to have a safe home for me, my mommy and my sister,” little Soniyah, a youngster staying at the Metro Family Residence in Elmhurst says in her letter to Santa Claus. “And I would also like a Barbie house, a Hello Kitty purse, a play tent and a guitar, because I like to play music and dance.”
Soniyah adds that she wants to be on Santa’s list for her “favorite holiday,” saying, “I will be good and go to bed early so you can come. Be safe delivering toys.”
You may not be able to provide little Soniyah with the home she and her family need, but you can help out with her other requests during the 18th annual Queens Chronicle Holiday Toy Drive, underway since Nov. 15. She’s one of hundreds of children who will benefit from this year’s effort.
New, unwrapped toys and other gifts donated by our readers will be given to the Metro residence and Dove House, a home in eastern Queens for women and children victimized by domestic violence, as well the Glendale-Maspeth United Methodist Church, which will provide them to at least one upstanding area organization for distribution to victims of Hurricane Sandy in South Queens and the Rockaways.
Soniyah’s letter was just one of many the Chronicle has received so far this year. Many were written by the children’s parents, because many of those in need are too young to take pen in hand.
“I’m Nikita and I’m 2 years old,” reads one of those, also from the Metro shelter. “I’ve been a good girl most of the time. ... I would like a baby stroller with a baby doll, Minnie Mouse bag, Minnie Mouse sneakers, Minnie Mouse blanket and stickers too.”
“I like musical toys,” the mother of 9-month-old Evan, who’s staying at Dove House, wrote on her son’s behalf. “Santa, for Christmas I would like any toy that is musical, educational and fun. I am learning to walk, so maybe a walker would be an ideal gift. Thank you for thinking about me during the holidays.”
But it’s not just the youngest children who need you to brighten their holidays.
“I am in third grade and I enjoy singing, dancing and movies,” wrote Nadir, who’s also at Dove House. “I am a typical 10-year-old girl. I like dolls, games and reading. I also like educational toys. I love you Santa. Merry Christmas.”
While all gifts are welcome, we ask that you do your best to fulfill some of the children’s specific requests.
• The mother of 3-week-old Glory says she needs a baby carrier and size 1 Pampers.
• Sixteen-year-old Sheari asks for video games for a Sony PSP or Microsoft X-Box.
• The mother of 3-year-old Isaiah hopes someone can get him a LeapFrog toy.
You can see more of the children’s letters to Santa at qchron.com.
As always, our readers are coming through for us big-time, the presents filling much of our office (we don’t mind how tight it can get in the conference room one bit!). Starting next week, we’ll be thanking our donors by name in the paper, as always. But this week we want to acknowledge Dylan Ringelheim of Rego Park, who came to our office last Friday with his Aunt Debbie, bearing Monopoly and two Spider-Man games for the children.
Dylan is 7.
“Every child deserves a good holiday like mine,” the PS 139 student said.
What a guy.
We know you’re hit with charity requests all the time, but we hope you can follow Dylan’s lead and help us brighten the holiday season for some of the neediest children in Queens. If not you, who? If not now, when?
Presents — always new and unwrapped, please — may be brought to our office from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. We’re 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 give them to the children by Christmas. If you have any questions, call us at (718) 205-8000.