In the first three weeks of December, thousands of toys and other gifts were delivered to a cold warehouse in San Bernardino, to be prepared for distribution to children in need in San Bernardino County.
The toys were collected through Children’s Fund’s annual Celebration of Giving toy drive, and volunteers, wearing coats, hats, gloves and masks, have been spending time in the warehouse cataloging, sorting, taking note of wishes and gathering up shopping carts full of specifically requested toys for organizations, preschools, county organizations and churches.
“For some children, the only gift under the tree this year will be a Celebration of Giving toy from Children’s Fund,” Ciriaco “Cid” Pinedo, president and chief executive officer of Children’s Fund, said in a news release. “With the vital support of our donors, we ensure they are not forgotten.”
In this year’s drive, 60,000 toys, valued at nearly $1 million, were collected.
Children’s Fund has facilitated the Celebration of Giving toy drive for 33 years, and for the past 15 years, First 5 San Bernardino has been a major funder of the Children’s Fund organization. First 5 San Bernardino has also provided a $50,000 donation each year to ensure that children from birth to 5 years old have gifts for Christmas.
“For a child, not having a gift at Christmastime would be devastating,” Karen Scott, executive director of First 5 San Bernardino, said in the news release. “It’s vital to a child’s health and well-being to feel love, and we are so proud to partner with Children’s Fund to make the holidays special for the county’s young children.”
Among the organizations receiving toys from Children’s Fund this year was Set Free Church in Highland. Joly and Jesse Ramirez, members of the church, recently came to the warehouse to have a rented truck filled with toys, to be distributed at the church’s Christmas Extravaganza event.
“We appreciate this a lot. So many low-income families are in need, and they are hurting,” Jesse Ramirez said in the news release.
More than 30 volunteers and nine full-time staff members help put the toy operation together, including Amy Pond Cirelli, Children’s Fund program coordinator.
“Running the Celebration of Giving warehouse is the highlight of my year,” Cirelli said in the news release. “Knowing that so many children will be happy on Christmas morning, well, it is a really good feeling.”
Children’s Fund is a nonprofit organization whose mission is giving vulnerable children support,opportunity and hope by breaking destructive cycles through community partnerships. Last year,Children’s Fund provided more than 110,000 services to children in need in San Bernardino County, according to the news release.
Fir information about Children’s Fund, go to childrensfund.org or call 909-379-0000.
First 5 San Bernardino’s purpose is to improve the lives of children from birth to 5 years by giving them the best possible start in life. It is funded through the 1998 voter-approved initiative California Children and Families Act (Proposition 10 tobacco tax revenues).
For information about First 5 San Bernardino, go to First5SanBernardino.org.
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