Elf-less: Kids learn spirit of giving at 41st Assembly District toy drive

Where’s Dori?: Geena Boasi holds up toys collected during the Toys for Tots Drive on Dec. 15.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

Little kids got a big lesson in the spirit of giving at the 41st Assembly District Democrats Club’s annual Toys for Tots Drive in Sheepshead Bay on Dec. 15, and organizers hope the experience has set them up for a lifetime of selfless generosity.

“The kids get to see what charity is and get to participate and especially when they are young enough, it really has a lasting effect,” said the club’s executive director Mariya Markh.

The youngsters worked as elves to count the more than 3,500 toys local residents and pols donated for children in need this year — some 700 more presents than last year’s haul, Markh said.

The club has hosted the event for around 15 years now, in the process delivering enough toys to put smiles on more than 60,000 kids over the years, according to the club.

And those who donate say they get a gift, too — the warm, fuzzy feeling of knowing you’re making a child’s day.

“It’s a real feel-good experience for everyone who participates,” said local District Leader and former Sheepshead Bay Councilman Lew Fidler. “That’s the holiday spirit.”

Two members of the United States Marine Corps stopped by the event to pick up the toys and bring them back to their base at Floyd Bennett Field, before they deliver them to local kids ahead of Christmas.

The typically beloved Brooklyn Cyclones mascot Sandy the Seagull also made a rare off-season appearance — although the sight of a life-sized bird didn’t fill all the tots with holiday cheer, according to witnesses.

“He did make one little boy cry — one of the boys was a little afraid of the seagull’s big head,” said Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein (D-Sheepshead Bay).

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Lucky Lew!: District Leader and former councilman Lew Fidler holds the annual 41st Assembly District Democrat Club Toys for Tots Drive on Dec. 15.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

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