SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Tens of thousands, and possibly hundreds of thousands, of toys are being donated to Bay Area children who are in need of a happy holiday this holiday season.
One group called Peace Builders is donating 50,000 new toys to foster and homeless children, Peace Builder founder and Woodside resident Diane Eskenazi said.
“I’m just trying to do what I can,” Eskenazi said. She is amazed at the need in the Bay Area, she said.
“If I had 400,000 toys I could give them out,” she said.
Eskenazi will be delivering 25,000 to 30,000 toys to Woodside Village Church in Woodside for delivery to charities in the Bay Area such as the YMCA, City Impact and the Ronald McDonald House, she said.
Last week her team went school-to-school delivering about 15,000 toys, she said.
“Beautiful” is what she called the children she met. “You would never know the hardships they face. Smiling, thankful and well-behaved” children, Eskenazi said.
The Salvation Army received a donation last week of $100,000 for toys for children eight to 16 years old, a group often overlooked in toy drives, Salvation Army officials said.
Saturday, officials with The Salvation Army hosted parents who got to shop at The Salvation Army’s Toy & Joy Shop in a space redesigned as a toy store.
Last year The Salvation Army gave out about 18,000 toys and this year the requests have not gone away, The Salvation Army spokeswoman Laine Hendricks said.
At the U.S. Postal Service, Saturday was the last day to fulfill a child’s request for a gift from Santa in the Letters to Santa program, which allows children to write to Santa for a gift.
Hundreds of volunteers with the U.S. Postal Service in San Francisco and Oakland will arrange for about 5,000 children to receive a toy from Santa this year, U.S. Postal Service spokesman for the Bay Area Augustine Ruiz said.
Ruiz asked for all the credit to be given to Kim Wu and MaryGrace Cruz, two volunteers from San Francisco and Oakland who manage the program that has been going on across the nation for 103 years.
“They are the two chief elves,” Ruiz said.
Saturday, Glide Memorial’s annual toy giveaway began at 9 a.m. at the organization’s Freedom Hall at 330 Ellis St. in San Francisco. Glide officials gave out 10,000 toys and more are still needed, they said.
Residents were encouraged to drop off new, unwrapped toys, gift cards and donations to Glide. Dolls were encouraged while guns and war toys were discouraged, according to Glide officials.
In Santa Cruz, officials with the Central Fire Protection District are asking that toy donations be brought to Toys “R” Us at 1660 Commercial Way Sunday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. or to any one of the four fire stations during business hours.
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