‘Christmas in July’ toy drive to give back to kids in Brownsville, East New York

Pexels/George Dolgikh

Every year, kids await holiday toy drives across the city. This year, Christmas will come early for children in Brownsville and East New York, as Elf of NYC and the Bonello Foundation gear up for their first-ever “Christmas in July” fundraiser this weekend.

“I wanted to do something special for the kids during the warmer months, so I decided to do Christmas in July!” an organizer with the Bonello Foundation, a Brooklyn-based nonprofit that works to feed the hungry and give back to locals in underserved communities, told Brooklyn Paper.

On July 30, the the group — in partnership with performer Elf of NYC — will host a garden party at the Jerome Glenmore Corner Stone Community Garden in East New York, where underserved kids will get toys and school supplies.

In the past, the Bonello Foundation has raised over $2K yearly to serve the community. A crowdfunding page for the “Christmas in July” event is currently accepting donations that will allow the group to buy more toys and supplies for kids in need. Donations can also be dropped off at Caffeine Underground in Bushwick ahead of the event.

Most toy drives put donations in storage for years, but the Elf of NYC and the Bonello Foundation — who have worked together in past holiday collections — ensure that the toys will be given directly to those who currently need them.

The party at JG Cornerstone Garden, co-managed by the Bonello Foundation, will be educational as well as helpful. The kids will be taught about healthy food choices and sustainable meal planning. Among the activities and projects planned for them will be seed planting in small pots the kids can take home after discussing the benefits of growing your own nutritious food.

Volunteers hope the kids will also learn about generosity.

“For some, these may be the only gifts they receive all year. I feel that it’s important to teach them, even at a very young age, about giving back,” said organizers, adding that they hope that, by giving, they can inspire a new generation of givers.

Above else, they hope the youngsters will have some fun.

“The goal is for them to have a wonderful time as they receive their gifts and do some fun activities,” the group said.

Although the party will be set in the summer, the celebration will be winter-themed, to match the holiday spirit of giving. Organizers are even trying to obtain a snow blower, so it really feels like Christmas.

As of Tuesday, Elf of Nyc and the Bonello Foundation have raised more than $300 toward a $700 goal — the more money raised, the more gifts kiddos will get to open Saturday.

For more information or to donate, check out the groups’ GoFundMe. Registration is required to attend the toy drive. To RSVP, email [email protected].